KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation, which had performed well in fund utilisation in the previous years, could spend only 51 per cent of the annual plan fund allocation this financial year. With only 15 days left for the period to end, the civic authorities are struggling to ensure maximum use of funds and avoid cut in allocation. "The plan fund utilisation till date is 51 per cent and our objective is to attain a total expenditure of 70 per cent by March 31. Bills worth Rs.2 crore were submitted on Thursday which will reflect in the total expenditure. Several factors, including GST implementation and strike of contractors, have adversely impacted the works," Mayor Soumini Jain told DC.
The corporation has more than 650 works being carried out using plan funds. This year, the local body should execute civil works worth Rs.205.21 crore, including last year's spillover. "The civic authorities have ignored the guidelines and time schedule specified by the state government. The mayor is putting all blame on the GST though there were serious lapses by the civic administration. Planning for the 2018-19 fiscal was also derailed even during the initial stage," alleged Opposition leader K.J. Antony.
In 2016, the corporation could spend 71.88 per cent of the funds and was one of the top achievers in the state. In 2017, it could utilise only 60.55 per cent of the funds and was in the third position among the municipal corporations. Meanwhile, preparation of the project proposals for 2018-19 fiscal has also been delayed. The state government has instructed all civic bodies to finalise the project proposals by March 15 and to start implementation by April 1. "Due to the delay in convening ward sabha meetings to discuss the draft proposals, the corporation will not be able to comply with the state government's deadline of April 1," the mayor added.