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Financial Management

Budget ignores water crisis and mosquito menace

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The Times of India                  12.03.2013  

Budget ignores water crisis and mosquito menace

MADURAI: Though the city faces acute water shortages which may worsen in summer, the Madurai civic corporation failed to set aside any funds to identify new water sources or improve water supply in its budget. Similarly, the budget is silent on measures to tackle the raging mosquito menace.

CPM councillor M Chellam pointed out that there are no provisions for drinking water facilities in the budget. "In many places in the city, the drinking water is running on the streets due to old pipe lines. There should be more funds on improving the drinking water supply to the city," she stressed.

After the monsoons failed in the region and with drought-like conditions prevailing, the prospects of drinking water crisis are real. There were several protests and road picketing in many places in the city over inadequate water supply. Without proper drinking water supply, the extended areas are reeling under severe drinking water crisis.

Strangely, the corporation has earmarked only Rs 33.80 crore as water supply expenditureunder the Integrated Urban Development Mission, while another Rs 90 lakh is allotted for maintenance of pipe lines.

DMK floor leader, M L Raj strongly criticised the city corporation for failing to address the water crisis come out with water projects on drinking water issues. "Drinking water is the need of the hour with drought conditions looming and without any solid projects on that, how the budget could be effective? The budget is old wine in new bottle without any substance in it," he charged.

Raj also came down heavily on the AIADMK-ruled corporation for not distributing the budget copies ahead of the session.

However, at the budget meeting the AIADMK councillors pinned hopes on luck rather than on any concrete measures to address the water issue in the cityseem to be least bothered about the drought condition. They expressed that the rain gods will favour their administration. P Kasiraman, AIADMK councillor from ward 62, told the council not to be afraid of the drinking water situation. "Rains will be certain during Amma's reign," he said cheerfully.

The budget also disappointed to provide funds for mosquito-control measures. K Rajapandian, AIADMK's Zone 1 chairman, said the corporation should have set aside sizeable funds for this is, as the problem is severe within the city limits. "The corporation had sanctioned Rs 1.2 crore last year for mosquito control but ended up spending much higher. Only fogging is used to control it at present and it appears futile as mosquito menace keeps increasing," he pointed out.

Chellam also seconded his opinion saying that the fogging machines available with corporation will not be sufficient and corporation should spend more on mosquito control, she stressed.

When contacted, corporation commissioner R Nanthagopal said that there is no need to identify any new drinking water source since the present sources like Vaigai Reservoir and drinking water schemes are sufficient. "The only concern is the rain and we can manage with the present storage till monsoon starts," he said. On mosquito control, he commented that the corporation had set aside sufficient funds under health expenditure and they are going to form an entomologists' team at the zonal level to contain the problem.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:57

Deficit budget for Madurai, corpn confident of surplus

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The Times of India                  12.03.2013  

Deficit budget for Madurai, corpn confident of surplus

MADURAI: The city corporation on Monday presented its annual budget for the year 2013-14 with a deficit of Rs 11.03 crore. Corporation mayor, V V Rajan Chellappa presented the budget estimating the total income at Rs 694.88 crore against an expenditure of Rs 705.91 crore with Rs 11.03 crore deficit.

Talking about the budget, Rajan Chellappa said the deficit had been estimated on scrutiny of total income and expenditure of all funds for the fiscal. "The net deficit estimated in the previous fiscal was Rs 9.22 crore but it turned surplus at the year end with Rs 7.39 crore. Likewise, the net deficit for the year 2013-14 will also turn out to be surplus by augmenting various sources of revenue by getting guidance from the taxation and finance committee," he said.

When contacted later, corporation commissioner, R Nanthagopal said revenue items such as property tax and auction of buildings greatly contributed to turn the deficit budget of 2012-13 into surplus. In the same way, the deficit budget for the present fiscal will also turn surplus since there is scope for many revenue items in the corporation, he commented.

Even as the budget meeting commenced, DMK councillors clad in black shirts walked out protesting that they were not given a prelude copy of the budget. They threw out the budget copies in the council hall and staged a walkout. Even when they were protesting, Rajan Chellappa threatened them that they will be barred from the council if they repeat the walkouts, which received wide applause from the AIADMK councillors. However, the DMK councillors boycotted the budget meeting.

CPM councillor, M Chellam during the budget meeting insisted that the prelude of budget should be shared among the councillors ahead of the budget session. The budget cannot be discussed in a constructive manner if the copy is not shared ahead of the session, she told the council. "No proper discussions are happening on the corporation budget and I have stressed the demand last year also," she later said.

Unlike the regular council sessions where zone chairmen used to consume much of the council time discussing various issues, they made their speech shorter this time as they had no clue about the budget. Even the AIADMK councillors did not analyse the budget during the meeting. Quite occupied with the 'AMMA thittam', the corporation introduced this year, they were seen praising the civic body for drafting such scheme.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:55

Madurai corporation unveils AMMA scheme

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The Times of India                  12.03.2013  

Madurai corporation unveils AMMA scheme

MADURAI: The AIADMK-ruled Madurai city corporation on Monday unveiled in its 2013-14 budget a scheme named 'AMMA Thittam' - Azhagia Madurai MAanagar (Beautiful Madurai City Scheme) - to take up grievance redressal, mass cleaning, repair and maintenance works in all the 100 wards. The novel scheme bearing an acronym akin to the popular name, Amma, of party supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, cheered the AIADMK councillors.

Unveiling the scheme, corporation mayor V V Rajan Chellappa said the 'AMMA Thittam' aims to carry out works in all the 100 wards on a war-footing. While concentrating on repair and maintenance works in the previous 72 wards, the scheme will concentrate on drinking water facilities, garbage clearing and mosquito control measures in the recently formed 28 wards, he said.

Under the scheme, 600 workers, with 150 each in 10 teams for four zones, would be deployed for maintenance of the wards.

The one-day schedule in each ward will be garbage clearing; cleaning the sand accumulated on the roads; maintenance of underground drains, street lights, parks, bore wells and hand pumps; planting of trees; removing stray animals like dogs, pigs and cattle in the city areas; mosquito control measures and sanitation works.

By concentrating on each ward in the four zones per day, the corporation can carry out these works in all the wards in 25 working days, the corporation estimates.

To implement the AMMA scheme, two committees are to be formed - 1) a planning committee consisting of zonal chairmen and councillors and 2) an executive committee consisting of officials.

As a one-time expenditure for the scheme, the corporation has set aside Rs 2 crore for water-leakage management, patchwork for roads, repair of damaged manholes, increasing height of manholes, extension of open drainage, removal of garbage, small maintenance works in school and hospital buildings and building of new roads (20-50 feet), new waterline connections and platforms around bore wells.

Along with the scheme, Chellappa also announced that the councillors' development fund has been increased from earlier Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh much to the pleasure of the councillors.

The lone CPM councillor, M Chellam, commented that the scheme appears good but it should be implemented properly for the welfare of the public.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:51

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