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Municipal Finance

Sitting councillors to get Rs. 15 lakh as ward funds

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The Hindu         01.07.2011

Sitting councillors to get Rs. 15 lakh as ward funds

Staff Reporter

The Chennai Corporation will release only Rs.15 lakh each to the sitting councillors under the Ward Councillors Development Fund, as their term gets over in October.

Corporation Commissioner D.Karthikeyan said the funds will be allocated proportionately. “Some councillors have already submitted proposals for utilising the funds. We have proper guidelines based on which funds would be released.”

In 2010-11, councillors spent only Rs.25 crore of the Rs.38.75 crore allotted to them. Some wards, especially those in north Chennai, are very small and the councillors had unspent funds.

A case in point is that of Ward 77 councillor Dravidanadu Munusamy. He said that in the last two years he was unable to spend the entire amount as the area was very small. “There is no land belonging to the government or the corporation in the ward. There is no major road either. I was able to spend the smaller amounts allocated in the first three years.” The Ward Councillors Development Fund was increased in phases from Rs.10 lakh in 2006-07 to the present Rs.30 lakh.

Mayor M.Subramanian said: “Around 85 per cent of the councillors had enough area and projects to utilise the funds in their wards. Some councillors wanted to know if their funds could be spent for other wards, but that was not possible. We hope that the proposed ward reorganisation during expansion of the city limits would result in bigger wards.”

Leader of Opposition in the Council Saidai P. Ravi said that for councillors to spend their funds until October, estimates must have been drawn up in March itself. “Very few councillors have submitted proposals for this year. We have just four months to spend Rs.15 lakh. Our term gets over by October 21. Due to elections and increase in cost of construction material, works which had been awarded to contractors are yet to be taken up,” he said.


Corporation under severe financial crunch

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 The Hindu        02.03.2011

Corporation under severe financial crunch

S. Sundar

It faces difficulty in execution of several works

Severe financial crunch has placed the Madurai Corporation in a predicament, says the Outcome Budget 2011-12 presented by Mayor G. Thenmozhi here on Monday.

The Corporation has presented a Rs. 8-crore deficit budget. But the budget note reveals that difficulty in execution of several works under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) because of the financial constraint.

The Corporation has to pay at least Rs. 15 crore towards provident fund and insurance of its employees and terminal benefits to retirees.

The local body is pinning its hopes on huge grants and a long term, interest-free loan of Rs. 427.84 crore which it has sought from the State Government to “ensure completion of all the schemes” during 2011-12 which is the Mission year.

The Corporation was sanctioned several projects at an outlay of Rs. 2,496.98 crore under the Mission in 2006.

“It had no other alternative except to divert the available amounts in the scheme and by obtaining loan from funding agencies to the total required amount of Rs. 427.84 crore,” the budget note said.

The Union Ministry has laid a condition that execution of all the schemes under the Mission with the 3rd instalment of the fund will only make it eligible for the fourth instalment of Rs. 134 crore.

“The inevitable gap in getting administrative and technical sanctions on revision of estimates due to escalation in cost and tender premiums has caused this status of affairs”, the note said.

Grant sought

The corporation has sought from the State Government Rs. 127.19 crore as grant instead of interest-free loan as its share for the mission.

Besides, it sought Rs. 131.83 crore as grant towards tender premium and cost escalation and the balance of Rs. 168.32 crore as interest-free long-term loan from the State Government to ensure final completion of all the schemes before the end of the Mission year of 2011-12, the note said.

Among them, the second Vaigai Water Supply Scheme (Rs. 71.23 crore), construction of three check dams across the Vaigai river (Rs. 13.38 crore) have been completed and construction of underground drainage in leftover places and renewal of sewage treatment plants (Rs. 252 crore) has been partially completed.

Only one-third of the project of construction of concrete retaining walls for 52 km of 11 channels and stormwater drainage canals for 822 km (total cost Rs. 348.82 crore) have been completed. Solid waste management (Rs. 75.99 crore) and construction of 22,766 houses for urban poor (Rs. 307.18 crore), too were incomplete.


Vellore Corporation owes TNEB Rs. 8 crore by way of charges

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The Hindu       20.11.2010

Vellore Corporation owes TNEB Rs. 8 crore by way of charges

Special Correspondent

VELLORE: Electricity charges to the tune of Rs.eight crore are due to be paid by the Vellore Corporation to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), according to K.R. Selvaraj, Commissioner of the Corporation.

The Commissioner gave this information in reply to a question from R. Arunachalam (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), 30th ward councillor of the Corporation at the ordinary monthly meeting of the Corporation here on Friday. Mr. Arunachalam said that the Vellore Corporation was unable to implement the scheme of supply of water through motorised borewell pumps, to provide new street lights or effect extension of existing lines in view of the refusal of the TNEB to provide service connection to the motorised borewell pumpsets and street lights on account of the outstanding arrears in payment of the dues.

The MDMK councillor further pointed out that the Corporation's dues had mounted in view of its failure to collect the consumption-based electricity user charges regularly from the Sathuvachari Municipality and the Nandhiyalam and Alamelu Mangapuram village panchayats for utilising the drinking water pumped from the confluence of the Ponnai and Palar rivers daily under the Integrated Drinking Water Supply Project for Vellore Corporation, Sathuvachari Municipality and wayside panchayats, which were beneficiaries of the of the project.

He suggested that the Vellore Corporation could stop pumping water under the Ponnai scheme in order to force the Sathuvachari Municipality and the wayside village panchayts to pay up the arrears.

If they paid the electricity arrears, the Vellore Corporation would be able to pay the dues to the TNEB, thus facilitating service connections to the motorised borewells, new street lights and line extensions.

Mr. Selvaraj said that if the Vellore Corporation were able to get a daily yield of 100 lakh litres of water from the Karugambuthur, Palar and Otteri headworks, then it would be in a position to stop pumping of water from the Ponnai scheme.

Srinivasa Gandhi (Congress), 25th ward councillor, complained that the stray dog menace is rampant in his ward. Serious steps had to be taken to curb the menace, he said.

The Commissioner said that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Act prohibited the killing of animals.

But, the Corporation could undertake sterilisation measures in order to prevent the growth in the dog population, and to administer anti-rabies injections to the dogs in order to prevent them from being afflicted with rabies, and thus prevent human beings from getting the disease.

Mr. Arunachalam said that the Corporation should also take stern steps to curb the stray cattle menace in Vellore.

V. Govindan, Corporation Health Officer said that the Corporation was currently engaged in gathering division-wise lists of owners of stray cattle so that the lists could be forwarded to the police department for action against them for causing nuisance to the public by allowing their cattle to stray into the roads, thus causing serious traffic hazards to the road users.

P. Karthikeyan, Mayor of Vellore, who presided, said that the fine imposed on owners of stray cattle would be increased from Rs.500 to Rs.1000 so that it acted as a deterrent against their tendency to allow their cattle to roam in the roads.

Since the existing fine was too low, the owners paid the fine and continued to allow their cattle on the roads, he said.


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