Deputy Mayor and Finance Standing Committee chairperson of Kochi Corporation B Bhadra presented the renewed Corporation budget of 2013-14 and estimates for 2014-15 on Monday. The surplus budget of Rs 19.69 crore envisages a revenue of Rs 857.75 crore and expenditure of Rs 826.02 crore. In 2013-14 the estimated revenue was Rs 492.45 crore and expenditure, Rs 459.62 crore. As usual focus is on infrastructure development with thrust on urban transport and health.
The budget promises to develop roads, over bridges and public transport facilities in a holistic manner in the year ahead. Rs 35 crore has been allocated for maintenance of some major roads in the city. Bituminous macadam and bituminous concrete (BM and BC) would be used for surfacing which would increase their life.
Rs 10 crore has been allocated for ROB projects. With the civic body launching three over bridges - the North ROB, A L Jacob ROB and Ponnurunni over-bridge - in the last, it hopes to construct two more ROBs this fiscal - an ROB at Pachalam and another to the Edappally Amritha Hospital. Besides, the budget proposes to commence the work of three flyovers at Palarivattom, Vyttila and Kundannoor respectively.
But the fact is that the North ROB and A L Jacob ROB were developed by KMRL as part of the Metro-related work and that the funds for Ponnurunni over-bridge were allocated by the former LDF council.
Public transport is slated to get a major boost for which Rs 5 crore has been allocated. “About 65 per cent of Kochiites opt for public transport which accounts for only seven per cent of the total vehicles in Kochi,” said Bhadra in her budget speech quoting a 2007 NATPAC study. “If steps are taken to revive public transport, almost 90 per cent of people would switch to it,” she said.
The civic body has fulfilled the promise to deliver a Unified Metro Transportation Authority (UMTA) and the state government has initiated steps for setting up an Special Purpose Vehicle for Kochi under MCTC. “With the arrival of Metro, Kochi will need a unified and efficient conglomeration of transportation systems which would include metro rail, road, railways and water transport,” said Bhadra.
Rs 50 lakh has been earmarked for steps to develop water transport facilities. Fancy proposals like bus re-routing, non-motorised transport system, rickshaws with GPS systems, e-rickshaws and modern autorickshaw stands also find a place.