Kochi: District focus on rebuilding

Farming revival tops Ernakulam district panchayat budget.

Kochi: The annual budget of Ernakulam district panchayat for 2019 -20, presented by vice-president Abdul Muthalib here on Friday, put rebuild Kerala initiatives, including revival of badly hit agriculture sector, at the top of its agenda. The fourth budget of the UDF-led panchayat council expects an income of Rs 171.58 crore and an expenditure of Rs 170.72 crore, and shows a surplus of Rs 86.35 lakh.

Education sector has bagged a big pie with Rs. 5.7 crore for schools' comprehensive development project and Rs 7 crore for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Rs.1.5 crore has been earmarked for construction of rest rooms for women in schools.

Dairy sector, paddy and coconut farming and fisheries sector have also received priority in the budget.

Mr Muthalib later said several sectors have to be given priority this year, considering the impacts of floods. "Several paddy fields have become barren with deposit of huge quantities of silt and mud," he said. "A few canals also have got damaged and cannot be used for irrigation. Loss of livelihood of dairy farmers, farmers and weavers is another issue. Hence, the budget has given due importance to such sectors."

The budget has also earmarked funds for initiatives like flood mapping (Rs 10 lakh) to equip the district to face such extreme natural. Experts have stressed the need for preparing flood maps by local bodies to minimise the extent of damage in such disasters in future.

The budget earmarked Rs 30 lakh for the devastated handloom sector while allotting Rs 1 crore for drinking water projects. The other sectors which would receive budgetary support are irrigation projects (Rs 2.75 crore), rainwater harvesting initiatives (Rs 80 lakh) and water treatment projects (Rs 5 lakh). Rs 3.33 crore has been set aside for infrastructure development for SCs and STs.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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