Nagpur: As expected the debate over NMC Budget witnessed war of words between the Ruling Party and Opposition. While the ruling dispensation hailed the Budget as development oriented the Opposition called it lack-lustre and directionless. The discussion was slated for Wednesday (March 30) after the Chairman of Standing Committee Sudhir (Bandu) Raut presented the Budget of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) for 2016-17 on Sunday (March 27).
Initiating the discussion, BJP Corporator Avinash Thakre said that the Chairman Sudhir Raut has focused on completing the ongoing projects that had been announced in the manifesto of Nagpur Vikas Aghadi rather than announcing new ones. “Raut deserves pat on his back for this visionary Budget. Since Nagpur being the city of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari it is centre of attraction. During the rule of Nagpur Vikas Aghadi from 2010 till to date, a slew of development works were undertaken for the benefit of all sections of society specifically the Dalits and other backward class people. Similarly, a provision of Rs 15 crore in the Budget for running the transport system in a better way is commendable,” stated Thakre.
Congress member Suresh Jagyasi said that every Standing Committee has set a trend of increasing the Budget by Rs 200-300 crore than the last budgets. Ironically, the ruling BJP which had vociferously protested enforcement of LBT itself has shown LBT as main source of revenue for the NMC. Various projects have been boasted and bragged as a showoff. In NMC, decisions are taken by dozens but few are implemented in true sense. The local body should be technologically efficient. The NMC should get rid of ‘loan seeking body’ tag. Step-motherlyy treatment should not be meted out to Pili Nadi. Rule 37 should be applied for construction of Sai Jhulelal Centre and at the same time Rs 25 lakh should be provided for development of Nara crematorium,” concluded Jagyasi.
Independent Corporator Harshala Sable demanded immediate steps to tackle water problem during summer as well as rejuvenation of Shukrawari Talao (lake). Congress member Saraswati Salame intervened midway and sarcastically said what has not been done in the past 4 years then how will it be achieved in 8-10 months.
Heaping praise on the Budget, BJP Corporator Rashmi Fadnavis said it has taken care of boosting standards of NMC schools as well as quality education. However, BSP’s Gautam Patil protested the Budget saying it lacked direction.
Congress member Purshottam Hazare demanded a hefty Rs 3-4 crore for development of his Prabhag. “A hospital should be opened in my Prabhag as well as the underdeveloped layouts should be developed by allotting sufficient funds,” said Hazare.
NCP’s Kamil Ansari termed the Budget as election budget. “The benefits of this Budget should reach not only to tax-paying citizens but to Corporators as well.
Slamming the Budget, Congress member Rekha Barhate said the NMC Administration is snubbing the court orders on construction of toilets for women across the city. It is condemnable. She also demanded construction of a covered mutton market in Khamla. Funds should also be made available for celebrating festivals of other religions on the lines of Hanuman Jayanti and Chhat Puja. Every square should have CCTV cameras installed. Rain water harvesting, green and eco-friendly clauses should be made mandatory. Similarly, audit of trees planted for environment protection must be done, demanded Barhate.
Yashashri Nandanwar deamnded that the school children be allowed to witness conduction of NMC’s General Body Meeting as well as Special Meetings. Similarly, instead of running after loans, the local body should increase newer and newer sources of income.
Another Congress member Abha Pande hailed the Budget for its presentation and approval beforeMarch 31. The Education Committee Chairman too deserves appreciation for stressing ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Badhao’ endeavour. In the Budget Book, figures of last year were repeated again. “I fail to understand where Sudhir and Pravin fell short for putting Nagpur in the list of ‘Smart City.’ What went wrong.”
Nita Thakre said that since the outer wards have been facing shortage of water, harvesting of rain water be made mandatory. Sujata Kombade said the Budget was made keeping in mind the grants provided by State and Central Governments. Divya Ghurde said she supports the budget in totality. Shiv Sena’s Alka Dalal said that distribution of sewing machines worth Rs 2.5 crore is proposed and the implementation is expected in this financial year. If the dance bars are allowed in NMC limits then revenue of local body could increase. Kishore Kumeria of the same party hailed the all-facility Budget. But health services need to be improved in the face of good hospitals and good doctors. Similarly tax system needs to streaamlined for boosting revenue.
Jagdish Gwalvanshi said that the crematoriums in outer wards lacked the required facilities resulting lot of hardship to citizens. Provision is in Budget but still facilities are absence. Gopal Bohre said that he visited 166 schools out of 186 NMC schools. The uniform of students needs to be changed to have a pleasant look. Shoes and socks should also be provided. He congratulated the Chairman Sudhir Raut for adequate funds to schools for various purposes. NCP’s Pragati Patil lamented non-functioning of one-window system proposed in successive budgets. Nag Nadi is half cleaned. BJP’s Chetana Tank welcomed the budget but Sandeep Sahare termed the budget as misleading. If the Code of Conduct for next year’s NMC poll is enforced in December how the development works would be completed.
Vijay Barse said that the NMC Budget was presented for the first time on Easter Sunday. There is no need to teach patriotism. Nationalism will not get imbibed by unfurling the tricolour the higher.
Congress member Praful Gudadhe Patil termed the Budget as carry forward budget. There is no visible sight of projects announced in the past 4 years. The transport system has collapsed, corruption has engulfed administration, citizens are being deprived of basic facilities. The Budget is running on grants. Paying of Rs 150 crore of arrears of contract employees is mandatory.
Leader of Opposition Vikas Thakre said the Budget is imaginary. The Municipal Commissioner has juggled up the figures. He had said that since LBT revenue is falling short the State Government is providing grants. Had LBT stayed the revenue would have been more. The announced schemes were not completed in the past 4 years. Completing them in 10 months would be impossible. No measures were initiated to increase sources of income. Privatisation is being stressed.
Ruling party leader Dayashankar Tiwari said that 95 percent of projects announced in manifesto are heading towards completion. Nagpur has turned load-shedding free. Educational institutions have been developed. The transport system will be on par with world standards with running of green buses. Three dialysis centres are serving the people at affordable costs. Transparency has been brought in the Property Tax system. A slew of measures were taken to ensure all-round development of Nagpur.
– RAJEEV RANJAN KUSHWAHA ( firstname.lastname@example.org )