THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Corporation budget proposals for the year 2012-13 are worth a read, for the innovative names the projects carry - ‘Suvidha’, ‘Nagarajyoti’, ‘Jeevaraktam’, ‘Punarjani’... being samples. Minus the fun of the names and a countable few projects, the budget reeks of staleness and has simply refused to think fresh.
It is a surprise that a Corporation caught in the midst of a stinking garbage crisis and on the verge of a clash with another local body has only taken time to repeat the projects conceived last year for solid waste management. And has only kept aside ` 2 crore for the sanitation projects, which include mini garbage plants and plastic-shredding units. However, it still nurtures the dream of setting up a research centre and nursing college at Vilappilsala, for which ` 5 crore has been set aside.
A striking difference from the previous budget, however, remains the fact that in its second budget, the LDF-led Council has announced its idea to go the commercial way or, rather, its plans to be self-sufficient. A petrol pump, Cafe Ananthapuri hotels, yoga centre, health club, workshop, service station, short stay home...its commercial plans make a long list.
However, the list of projects that have appeared consecutively for the second year is also rather long. The Ambedkar Higher Studies Training Centre, the Santhi Kavadam-II at Kazhakkoottam, multi-level parking complexes, regional offices, renovation of parks and ponds, underpasses and bridges, Mayor’s cup football, city trade centre at Palayam, model schools, medical insurance for councillors and so on.
Thankfully, a package to rehabilitate the Kudumbashree Cleanwell women - ‘Punarjani’ - has been allotted ` 15 lakh, though no details have been divulged about the package. More autorickshaw pre-paid counters will be opened at General Hospital and Pettah railway station premises, for which ` 10 lakh has been allotted.
Rehabilitation of hawkers in the city under the ‘Suvidha’ project (` one crore); ‘Sandhyaragam’ project (` 75 lakh) to renovate the Sree Chithira Thirunal Park at Fort; ‘Jeevaraktam’ (` 15 lakh) to promote blood donation; ‘Vazhikatti’ (` 10 lakh) to install sign boards; ‘Nerkazhcha’ (` 1 lakh) to provide health checkup for contingent employees; and ‘Nanma’ (` 10 lakh) to provide amenities to children from poor families are some of the other proposals in the budget.
Presenting the budget, Deputy Mayor G Happykumar said the Finance Committee has remained practical and included proposals that are sure to see light, instead of going in for a gargantuan budget that remains on paper. He presented a budget, which envisages an income of ` 735.45 crore and expenditure of ` 723.41 crore.
The UDF and BJP members said that the Finance Committee should have tabled the financial statements of the last nine months before presenting the budget as is laid out in the rules. At the end of the budget presentation, the BJP and UDF councillors demanded one extra day to go through the budget in detail before the two-day discussion. Mayor K Chandrika negated the idea and said the discussions would be held on Tuesday and Wednesday as planned.
* Slum-free capital - Rs 5 crore.
* Women technology park - Rs 75 lakh.
* ‘Drishya’, children’s film festival - Rs 25 lakh.
* Good health programme - Rs 25 lakh.
* ‘Vayana’, to encourage reading among students - Rs 10 lakh.
* ‘Ananthapuriye Ariyan, Nagara Sanchari’, an eco tourism project - Rs 1 crore.
* Cafe Ananthapuri hotels - Rs 50 lakh.
* Workshop and service station - Rs 50 lakh.
* Girl-friendly toilets - Rs 50 lakh.
* Public comfort station - Rs 50 lakh.
* Petrol pump - Rs 1 crore.
* Police aid to carry out legal decisions taken by the Corporation - Rs 1 lakh.
* Carry bag and cover units for Kudumbashree members - Rs 25 lakh.
* Playground renovation - Rs 2 crore.