KOCHI: The Kochi Corporation budget for the fiscal 2017 – 2018 presented on Saturday by deputy mayor T.J. Vinod, who is chairman of the finance standing committee, doesn’t have any fresh or innovative project proposals. Though the budget envisions a comprehensive and all-inclusive development with allocation for almost all sectors, many of the proposals are repetitions. The budget expects Rs 854.16 crore as income and Rs 822.29 crore as expenditure, showing a surplus of Rs 16.83 crore. It contained a slew of projects for the urban transport sector and had an allocation of Rs 40 crore for Smart City Mission as urban local body share.
As part of tax revenue enhancement measures, there are new proposals like timber tax (for using wood), and Metro special development charge for the buildings near Metro stations and the Metro corridor. The local body targets an additional tax revenue of `Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore from these two proposals. A special transport plan has been proposed for the west Kochi area which will be implemented with the support of KSRTC, KURTC, KMRL and UMTA. As part of the scheme, a mobility hub, light metro and tram service have been proposed and Rs 1 crore has been allocated for the preparation of the project plan.
More roads will be upgraded to Bm and BC standards on a five-year guarantee for which Rs 7 crore has been allocated. One road from each division will be selected for laying interlock tiles at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore. Many proposals mentioned in the previous budget like bicycle tracks, footpaths, pedestrian crossings and junction development have been repeated. Apart from urban transport, it tries to address major issues like solid waste management, sewerage treatment, mosquito menace and flooding. While drainage management programmes got Rs 15 crore, Rs 38 crore is earmarked, including Union government’s AMRUT funds, for canal restoration projects.
There are several proposals in the solid waste treatment sector including procurement of new covered vehicles for waste transporting, e-waste collection facility, bio compost units in all government and public sector offices, setting up material recovery facility centre for collecting, and cleaning non- biodegradable refuse with an allocation of Rs 10 crore. Mosquito control measures got Rs 10 crore while Rs 60 crore will be spent (including AMRUT funds) for drinking water projects. Other major projects include water ATMs, exclusive street vending zones, hawker zones in Fort Kochi, special squads to monitor street vendors, new surveillance cameras in key areas, integrated environment management, the green protocol enforcement and Mangalavanam restoration.