In a major disappointment, Chandigarh did not get any additional funds in the Union Budget announced on Friday. The UT Administration had sought additional funds of Rs 575 crore for various projects. The city’s allocated amount of Rs 4,753.12 crore which it got in the interim budget in February this year remains the same for the year 2019-20.
The Chandigarh Administration had sought additional funds of Rs 575 crore. Out of this, Rs 125 crore was sought for the cash-starved Municipal Corporation and Rs 300 crore was sought for the Smart City Limited. While Rs 100 crore was sought for land acquisition, the remaining amount was sought for various other departments under the UT Administration.
Finance and Planning Officer Jasbir Singh said that their allocated amount remains the same as that announced in the interim budget. “There is no change in the amount we received earlier,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.
This budget was the only hope for the UT Administration as urban development was to get hit this year because the Union government had imposed a cut of 44 per cent under this head in the interim budget for the year 2019-20. Hopes were dashed when they did not get any additional funds.
Ahead of the interim budget as well, the Chandigarh Administration had sought Rs 5,218.03 crore for the year 2019-20 but got only Rs 4,753.12 crore.
Under the urban development head, the UT has received only Rs 117.04 crore against Rs 207.29 crore in the revised estimates for 2018-19. Under this head, in 2017-18, Chandigarh had received Rs 544.48 crore. Urban development includes everything — from provision for land acquisition and survey, construction/infrastructure development, urban roads, stormwater drainage, electrification, IT park, machinery and equipment, research works, and dam across Sukhna Lake.
No new projects started till now
Six months of the year have passed but the UT Administration has not come up with any major project in the city. All projects inaugurated ahead of the elections are old projects.
A senior officer of the Chandigarh Administration stated that the projects could not take off because of code of conduct due to Lok Sabha elections.
MC’s hopes dashed
The UT had sought Rs 125 crore for the cash-starved Municipal Corporation but nothing came their way. The civic body has been left disappointed. The Municipal Corporation seeks funds from the UT Administration whenever there is a shortage of money. The MC had to hand over some of its community centres to the UT Administration for construction as they didn’t have sufficient funds. They even stopped the renovation of first three floors of the MC building owing to this shortage.
Smart city: No tangible project till now
It was in 2015 that Chandigarh was announced as a smart city but not a single project has come up until now. Officers say that tenders have been floated for the projects but nothing is visible on the ground. As the cost of upgradation of sewage treatment plants had increased by around Rs 50 crore in the revised DPR and various other projects, Rs 300 crore was sought. But the UT Administration was not given anything.
Allocated amount for this year remains Rs 75.31 crore, which is 6.9 per cent less than the total of Rs 80.93 crore received in 2018-19. Health services include upgradation of 50-bedded community health centre to 250-bedded hospital, strengthening of 50-bedded poly clinic, mental health institute and others.
For education, the allocated amount remains Rs 67.56 crore. It includes provision for modernisation and purchase of equipment, development of infrastructure for NCC, providing amenities, services, graduate courses and modernisation and construction of new polytechnic, government polytechnic for women and industrial training institute.
Road and transport
Under road and transport, the allocated budget remains Rs 23.71 crore under the capital head which was Rs 30.42 crore last year. This is for purchase of new buses, replacement of condemned buses, computerisation of CTU, and purchase of video coach buses for intercity transport.