Health care and parking facilities have been given priority by the standing committee of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in its revised budget for the 2014-15 financial year.
Apart from setting up a new building on the LG Hospital campus, the political wing has promised making nearly 400 facilities free of cost at municipal hospitals.
The standing committee has also proposed setting up a 10-storey hospital building in place of the present one of LG Hospital at Maninagar for Rs85 crore. It has allocated Rs10 crore for the project in the next fiscal.
In a more populist move, the committee mentioned around 400 services and tests free of cost at civic hospitals. The committee has allocated around Rs9.80 crore as expenses for providing these services. “The move is aimed at providing hassle-free treatment to poor patients,” said Bhupendra Patel, chairman of the AMC standing committee.
The committee has also decided to carry out major operations, including that of heart, kidney, brain and lever, free of cost at the municipal hospitals at least for a period of three weeks in a bid to strike a chord with the lower income group. The surgeries will be held during Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Darindra Narayan Medical Saptah, Mahatma Gandhiji Darindra Narayan Medical Saptah and Pandit Dindayalji Darindra Narayan Medical Saptah.
Besides, women will get 50% discount for medical bills in case of heart disease and brain haemorrhage. The committee has also proposed to set up five centres each for physiotherapy and eye care in different parts of the city.
Apart from healthcare, the standing committee has focused on parking and traffic issues, too. The committee has proposed setting up 12 multi-storey parking complexes in six zones of the city. As part of the ambitious project, it has allocated Rs12 crore as initial fund. The AMC is looking forward to developing a multi-storey parking complex on public-private partnership or on a build operate transfer basis.
The standing committee has also proposed setting up mobile squad to decongest roads, take care of pedestrian ways and prevent parking on footpaths and cycle tracks.
Garden restaurant atop multi-level parking complex
AMC seems to be leaving no stone unturned to attract people to the multi-level car parking in Kankaria constructed for Rs28 crore. For the first time, AMC has planned a garden restaurant on public-private partnership (PPP), that too on the terrace area of Kankaria’s multi-level parking complex. Standing committee chairman Bhupendra Patel said that this project has been taken up on priority for FY 2014-15.
Wi-fi in public places
Keeping in mind urbanisation and internet usage of citizens, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will install wi-fi at public places like Kankaria lakefront, Maninagar Medical College, Swarnim Dental College, NHL Medical College, LG Hospital, VS Hospital and Shardaben Hospital. Rs50 lakh has been allotted for setting up this system.
‘Square’ identity for roads
The political wing plans to give a different identity to city roads. Its budget for financial year 2014-15 proposes ‘zone square’ development, in which every zone will have at least one developed crossroads. The selected crossroads will have RCC road, multi-colour block, decorative safety grills, road parking, street furniture, flower plantation and decorative street lights. Five crossroads will be developed as zone squares in five zones (except central zone) at a cost of Rs5 crore.
A bit for safaai kaamdaars’ health
Apart from development, AMC has also considered the health of hundreds of its safaai kaamdaars and manhole workers in this budget. Standing committee chairman Bhupendra Patel has proposed to get health check-up for safaai kaamdaars (sweepers) and manhole workers conducted, for which Rs25 lakh has been proposed.
Time for new party plots
There is provision for developing new community halls or party plots on public private partnership (PPP) as well as renovation of old ones in the budget. The budged proposes developing five new community halls at a cost of Rs11 crore. “Community halls have been proposed in Sarkhej ward, Juna Vadaj, Chandkheda as well as other exterior parts of city,” said the chairman.
Opposition to the budget
According to the opposition party, AMC’s political wing has presented a rosy picture through this budget. Leader of opposition Badruddin Shaikh said that the civic body’s income is declining, which has affected many of its pending projects. He also said that AMC has not specified tests that would be free for the patients of VS hospital. He pointed out that the civic body has not considered the fact that 40% of the hospital’s patients are from outside city, who too will be benefited.
Popularising Statue of Unity
Rs50 lakh has been allotted for popularisation of the ‘Statue of Unity’ project of the state government. As part of this, Statue of Unity cricket tournament and Swami Vivekanand kabaddi competition will be held during the financial year 2014-15. While Rs35 lakh has been allotted for the cricket tournament, Rs15 lakh will be spent on kabaddi tournament.
Foot over-bridge with escalator
With increasing traffic on the roads, it has become difficult for pedestrians to cross the road, especially on BRTS routes. For this, the political wing of AMC has proposed to construct foot over-bridge with escalator on BRTS route, especially at Kalupur railway station and Gita Mandir bus terminal. The proposal is to construct such foot over-bridge on PPP basis where a private player will be allowed to set up a refreshment counter on the bridge.
Solar panels on municipal schools
Solar power clearly seems to be the way to go. After setting up solar panels on AMC buildings of all zones, this budget has proposed installing such panels on rooftops of municipal schools. Standing committee chairman Bhupendra Patel said that solar panels will be installed at nearly 200 municipal schools. For this, a budget of Rs1 crore has been allotted by Patel.
Place for auto parking
To curb traffic issues of the city, the standing committee chairman’s budget proposes auto parking stands. In all, 100 parking stands dedicated to auto rickshaws have been proposed to be constructed on every major road of the city. Rs25 lakh has been allotted in the budget for these stands.
Due to rapid urbanisation, villages which were once outside the city limits have been included in it. Development work in these villages includes laying storm water drainage line, drainage lines and developing the village’s chabutaras (bird feeders). Villages like Ramol and Vinzol in east zone, Shilaj, Gota, Jodhpur, Vastrapur, Sola in new west zone among others will be developed at a cost of Rs10 crore, as per the budget proposal.
Non-tax revenue an exaggeration again?
Against the commissioner’s estimated non-tax revenue of Rs700 crore for 2014-15, the standing committee chairman has estimated Rs270 crore rise in the figure for FY 2014-15, taking the total non-tax revenue to Rs970 crore. It may be noted that in 2011-12, the non-tax revenue was Rs334.85 crore, which dropped to Rs285.41 crore in 2012-13. Despite this, the non-tax income for 2013-14 was estimated to be Rs805 crore, which was recently revised to Rs550 crore. However, past experience does not appear to matter much as AMC has again given a high estimate for non-tax revenue.