Faced with increased expenditure and strained sources of income, the Pune Zilla Parishad has decided to auction more than 500 minor irrigation structures for commercial fish culture. Chief Executive Officer Ayush Prasad said this was one of the many measures the rural local body was trying to augment its income in view of the fund crunch.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Pune Zilla Parishad has seen its expenditure on pandemic management rising while its source of income in the form of stamp duty share from the state government being stopped. The zilla parishad is expecting Rs 515 crore in stamp duty remittances from the state government. Ranjit Shivtare, vice president and head of finance committee of the zilla parishad, said this year remittance worth Rs 217 crore is expected from the state government. “The Covid-19 pandemic has induced slow down, which has severely hit the income sources of zilla parishad,” he said.
Meanwhile, Prasad admitted that demand on its exchequer has gone up in way of various welfare schemes it has been running. “Along with stamp duty, it is our long standing demand that the zilla parishad be given a share of the road tax collected in rural areas,” he said.
The decision to auction off minor irrigation structures like percolation tanks, Kolhapur bandaras etc was taken with the dual objective of increasing its revenues as well as to increase inland fisheries in the district. The structures have water round the year and rates for auction will be decided by the terms set by the Fisheries department.
“Small farmer groups will be given predominance in the auction process,” he said. While the zilla parishad is aiming to raise around Rs 16 crore from the auction, the move, Prasad said, would help in augmenting the standard of living in the rural areas. “Also we are hopeful that once these structures are being looked as commercial entities, their upkeep will also improve,” he said.
Shivtare said the zilla parishad also has plans to lease out its land in Daund, Maval, commercially to help it raise revenue.
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