After the BMC budget was presented on Wednesday, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte spoke to dna on the fund allocations and how the citizens would benefit from it
Why are there no new projects in the budget?
We wanted to complete the projects in hand rather than announce something which cannot be completed or started. This may sound a simple budget but we’ve focussed on those projects which would matter to citizens’ day-to-day life.
Can BMC afford to dole out financial assistance to BEST?
It’s our sister concern and we cannot turn a blind eye to the financial crisis. Second, it’s an election year and it was ‘decided’ to extend Rs100 crore financial assistance to BEST Undertaking to bail them out of the economic mess. However, we don’t want to pamper them and keep giving them such aid each year. We will have to generate the revenue from two-three different segments.
What are the improvements in health facilities, especially after the poor condition of hospitals has been highlighted?
We want to give the best health care to those who cannot afford expensive treatment. At the same time, we are upgrading primary health-care services. We have also started a lifestyle diseases clinic to cover all kinds of patients.
Projects worth crores are lined up for the city roads and there is no positive result. Do you think the city’s master plan will be successful?
The master plan should be an answer to all problems related to roads in the city. What we are undertaking at present will solve issues related only to a few roads. But, there are major roads and new roads to be attended which will be part of the master plan. The master plan will be systematic and scientific approach, which will also include redesigning of roads keeping in mind the pedestrians and cyclist.
What about Local Body Tax, which was announced last year?
Well, there is uncertainty on the implementation of LBT. Octroi is the major source of revenue for the civic body and we cannot stop the income. As this year is the election year, it is not expected that the LBT will be imposed.