BMC spends over ₹1,000 crore on its fight against the Covid-19

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) spent more than Rs 1000 crore on its fight against the Covid-19 outbreak in the past seven months. BMC – known to be Asia's richest municipal corporation – had to rework its 2020-21 budgetary allocations to meet the expenses which are likely to incur towards the civic body's ongoing combat against the virus.

Mumbai had been the hotspot for coronavirus outbreak in India and the state continues to lead in the total case count. The civic body was forced to divert funds that were allocated for certain projects in the budget to meet Covid-related expenses. Two months ago, the civic body slashed the budgetary allocations made for several big ticket projects. Total Rs 2,500 crore budgetary cut from its capital expenditure for the financial year 2020-21 was approved by the civic general body.

BMC has faced a 41 percent loss in its revenue in the first six months of the financial year 2020-21. As a measure to bail it out of this financial crisis, the civic body is now planning to dip into its reserves (in fixed deposits) to withdraw Rs 5000 crore.

As on Dec 31, 2019, reserves of BMC were at Rs 78,669 cr (including reserves towards committed liabilities).

BMC has four major hospitals – KEM in Parel, Sion hospital, Nair in Mumbai Central and Cooper in Andheri – and 16 suburban/peripheral hospitals in the eastern and western suburbs.

More than 50,000 COVID-19 positive patients were detected in May and June. Therefore, BMC had to set up COVID Care Centres at more than 520 places including Bandra-Kurla Complex, NESCO in Goregaon and NSE Dome at Worli.

More than Rs 40 crore have been spent on infrastructure in major hospitals like KEM, Sion, Cooper and Nair hospital. Rs 10 crore have been deployed at Kasturba Hospital at Saat Rasta, Jerbai Wadia TB Hospital at Sewri and Bhabha Hospital at Bandra.

As much as Rs. 30 crore has been spent for the upgrade of an oxygen plant and distribution of oxygen and other medical expenses at Babasaheb Ambedkar Shatabdi Hospital at Kandivali and Rajawadi Hospital at Ghatkopar.

Over Rs 50 crore was spent towards upgradation of Seven Hills Hospital in Andheri. Also, more than Rs. 200 crore were spent to procure various injections, medicines including Remedacivir, Tocilizumab, Favipiravir for COVID patients.

The civic body has spent more than Rs 100 crore for food and Rs. 50 crore for food supply during the lockdown.

"We are looking at various cost cutting measures amid the pandemic crisis. As the battle against Covid isn't over yet... we will incur more expenses. We are ready to face

that," said a senior BMC official.

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