The SMC has already spent Rs 37.2 crore for health related activities and setting up Covid-19 centres and Covid-19 hospitals in Surat, it has said in the July 27 letter written by Municipal Commissioner BN Pani to Mukesh Puri, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban development and Urban Housing Department. Pani, when contacted, termed the requisition for funds, “routine”.
“It is a routine procedure for municipal corporation to ask the state government for funds. Later, when funds are allocated, we have to give them details of expenses,” Pani said.
The letter states that the civic body’s revenues have gone down in the first quarter of financial year 2020-21. The income sources of SMC is through various taxes, paid FSI and grant against the octroi dut. Sources said that the major source of income fo SMC is through property taxes.
The state government had earlier released Rs. 43.17 crore, through various grants, to the Surat civic body, to work during the pandemic. However, the SMC had till date spent Rs 37. 2 crore of which it gave a detailed account to the urban development department, even as payment to many of the hospitals with which SMC had signed MOUs to treat positive cases was pending.
Pani’s letter, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, said, “With prevailing situation of coronavirus in Surat, and estimated expenses till December 2020, please grant Rs 128.36 crore to maintain the financial condition.”
The letter also contains details of the expenses done by SMC to the tune of Rs. 37.2 crore from the earlier funds released by state government.
As per the details of expenses mentioned in the letter, out of Rs 37.02 crore, Rs. 11.86 crore were spent for setting up Covid-19 hospital in Multilevel parking area at SMIMER hospital and purchase of ventilators, Rs.8.48 crore for medical stores for purchase of medicines and Rs 16.68 crore for other activities like MoU with other private hospitals, setting up Covid centres and Covid care hospitals, supply of essential items to the people in quarantine areas, and clearing bills of patients referred by the SMC to the 50 private hospitals in the city.
The annual income of SMC, which was Rs 2963 crore for the financial year 2019-20, has gone down due to the pandemic.