The Goa government on Monday informed the House that provisions have been made to release central grants to the civic bodies in the state in the current budget. The state government’s statement comes in the backdrop of complaints of lack of funds with the municipalities by the ruling benches.
“When Centre makes funds available for the municipalities, it is with the condition that it should be released on time,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the legislative assembly during Question Hour today. “To release them on time we require two things, one condition is that you have to give utilisation certificate about the projects for which funds were made available earlier and secondly you have to make budgetary provision to get it from central treasury. We have made provisions this time,” said Parrikar.
Incidentally, ruling benches including BJP legislator Nilesh Cabral voiced concern over the marathon code of conducts in the state which has hampered the developmental works in the municipal councils. Cabral said that the funds for the municipal councils are not released and the civic bodies are covered under the code of conduct even if elections are for panchayat bodies.
He said the state government should demand relaxation to the municipal bodies from the current code of conduct which is imposed due to August 23 by-polls in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies. Goa Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza conceded on the floor of the House that the state was fined Rs 53 lakh by the Centre for non-utilisation of the funds approved for them.
“Since there was delay in utilising the first installment (of the grants), the second installment was not released. We had to pay fine of 6.50 per cent which amounted to Rs 53 lakh,” he told the House. D’Souza said the finance department does not release the grants from time to time.
“Now we have made a demand for supplementary grants amounting to Rs 30 crore plus which chief minister has promised to release soon. Once supplementary grants are approved by this House they will be released,” D’Souza said.