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Monday, March 30, 2020

Ignoring deficit, PMC hikes draft budget by Rs 1,161 cr, promises new projects

While presenting the draft budget, the civic administration had cited issues in generating the requisite revenue. However, in the budget presented on Wednesday, the PMC committee announced a host of major projects in the city, raising question marks about how those will be funded.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune | Published: February 27, 2020 5:07:34 am
Pune city news, Pune news, Pune Municipal Corporation budget 2020-21, PMC budget, indian express news PMC Standing Committee Chairman Hemant Rasane tabled the civic budget at the PMC on Wednesday. (Express photo: Ashish Kale)

Undeterred by the deficit in its budget for the current fiscal, the BJP-led Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC’s) Standing Committee on Wednesday presented a Rs 7,390-crore budget for 2020-21, Rs 1,161 crore higher than the draft budget of Rs 6,229 crore.

While presenting the draft budget, the civic administration had cited issues in generating the requisite revenue. However, in the budget presented on Wednesday, the PMC committee announced a host of major projects in the city, raising question marks about how those will be funded.

“I am aware of the issues of revenue collection… but the PMC has the potential to increase its revenue by increasing the efficiency of the civic administration. We will make extra efforts to increase revenue generation…,” said Hemant Rasane, chairperson of the PMC Standing Committee.

Civic officials will focus on creating new sources of revenue generation and ensuring effective implementation of the budget, he said. “There is a plan to construct foot overbridges (FoBs) at 200 locations in the city, and we can generate revenue from advertisements on these FoBs. Even other PMC spaces such as gardens, flyovers and bridges will be made available for advertisements,” said Rasane.

The PMC is expected to fall significantly short of its 6,765-crore budget for 2019-20, as it is estimated to raise only Rs 4,400 crore revenue by March-end, thus falling short by over Rs 2,000 crore of the target.

The notable steps planned in the budget include a scheme which will allow commuters to travel in PMPML buses for Rs 10 throughout the day in central parts of the city. “The heart of the city is very congested, with narrow roads often seeing heavy traffic jams. Local residents will be encouraged to take advantage of the PMC scheme of commuting with only Rs 10 in these areas throughout the day,” said Rasane.

The route would cover the areas of Deccan, Pulgate, Swargate, Shivajinagar and Pune station, among others.

The PMC Standing Committee has also decided to extend the Metro rail network, as well as the BRTS, in the city. “The detailed project report for additional 50 km of Metro rail will be prepared for five routes. Work on the main routes from Vanaz to Ramwadi and Pimpri-Chinchwad to Swargate is in full swing, but there is a need to extend the Metro network,” said Rasane.

The extended route will include the 9-km stretch from Sinhagad Road to Pune Cantonment, the 11-km stretch from Warje to Swargate, 5-km stretch from Ramwadi to Wagholi and Vanaz to

Chandni Chowk, 6-km stretch from Swargate to Katraj and 12-km stretch from Shivajinagar to Hadapsar.

The civic body is planning to introduce BRTS on Ganeshkhind Road, the old Mumbai-Pune road and Patil Estate to Sangamwadi. There are plans to build a cycle track from Khadakwasla to Swargate, and civic staff will be given interest-free loans to purchase cycles to promote its use in the city.

To ensure that the urban poor are able to avail medical facilities free of cost, the PMC is planning to set up its own blood bank and pathology laboratory, while developing a super-speciality hospital to treat serious ailments.

Outlining other plans of the PMC, Rasane said, “The Peshwa-era Sarasbaug will be redeveloped as tourist destination of international standards. A garden in the name of late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has also been proposed…”.

He said PMC school students will be taken for picnics to Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Maratha king Shivaji, as the “values of the Maratha king need to be effectively passed on to the next generation”.

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