Mumbai: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which claims to be richest municipal corporation, has underutilised its capital expenditure since last six years. This despite the increase in the budget amount and this year it increased more than 12 per cent. For the last six years, only Rs 3,500 crore to Rs 5,000 crore had been spent per year for developmental work. This, despite no shortage of funds, rising the suspicion if this move of underutilisation of funds has been deliberate. Many critics believe this reflects on poor planning and lack of political will.
“The BMC has underutilised its capital expenditure in the last few years which clearly reflects on the lack of planning by the leadership and political will for developmental work. The projects are getting delayed due to underutilisation of the available funds,” said Milind Mhaske, Director of Praja Foundation. This development fund is used for road construction and widening, laying water pipelines, constructing sewage treatment plants, schools, hospitals, machinery and other such projects. The poster projects of the BMC like coastal road, Tansa cycle track and eight sewage treatment plants (STPs) have also been funded through this fund.
However, BMC Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, in a press conference after the budget speech, had assured that most of the funds for this financial year will be utilised. “The development work in all major projects is fully operational. I can assure you of maximum utilisation of the funds from the capital account this year,” But Mhaske called this an overambitious claim. “If the funds are underutilised for the last few years, why should believe he will not do so even this year?” questioned Mhaske. The BMC had utilised 36.74 per cent of the allocated funds from the capital account till December 2018. “We are confident of utilising over 85 per cent of funds this year,” said a civic official.
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