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Corporation will go bankrupt soon: Opposition

By Our Staff Reporter


KOCHI, MARCH 3. The Opposition Councillors warned that the Corporation was heading for an unprecedented financial crisis. They also opined that the civic body would soon become bankrupt.

Though the civic administrators had promised to enhance the revenue collection, it had failed miserably in this aspect. This year's budget has justified the Opposition criticism that the previous years' budgets were all "hollow and inflated", criticised the KPCC general secretary and Corporation councillor, N. Venugopal.

He also criticised the civic authorities for not doing the homework and follow-up for making the State Government earmark funds for the Kochi Corporation in the State budget.

According to A. B. Sabu, none of the promises made in the last Corporation budget, including the proposals for setting up town-planning research, health research and disaster management cells had materialised.

Though the two Congress leaders talked to mediapersons separately, both were critical about the civic authorities move not to distribute the budget speech by the Deputy Mayor, A.V. George. Earlier, the "procedural error" of not supplying copies of the budget speech to the councillors infuriated the Opposition whose members loudly aired their protest while Mr. George read out from the prepared text.

The speech was not audible as the Opposition councillors including, Mr. Venugopal, Mr. Sabu, C. E. Vakkan, Laly Vincent, Tony Chamminy, C. K. Gopalan and Shyamala S. Prabhu vociferously opposed his speech shouting at him and thumping on the desk.

Defending the Deputy Mayor, Dinesh Mani, argued that the he was presenting the gist of the budget. Mr. Mani did not receive much support from the ruling front except from one or two CPI(M) members. Refusing to budge to the Opposition protest, Mr. Mani even offered to pass the budget without discussion. However, it was decided that a discussion on the budget will be held on March 5 at 10.30 a.m.

In his budget, Mr. George anticipated a revenue of Rs. 106 crores and an expenditure of Rs. 97 crores.

He also estimated nearly Rs. 10 crores as cash in hand for the next financial year.

The finance committee felt that the fiscal position of the Corporation was not satisfactory.

The Deputy Mayor has earmarked Rs. 81 lakhs for drainage works, Rs. 1.10 crores for solid waste management projects, Rs. 1.3 crores for mosquito eradication projects, Rs. 30.6 crores for municipal development projects, Rs. 3.95 crores water and wastewater management and Rs. 10 lakhs for public health programmes.

The Deputy Mayor also stated that the new budget would lay emphasis on completing the ongoing projects and improving the fiscal position of the Corporation by tapping new revenue sources and reducing the expenditure.

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