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BMC seeks Rs 200 cr from disaster fund


Facing a Rs 3,500-crore revenue shortfall, BMC asks state government for additional funds to fight Covid-19.

Faced with a revenue shortfall of nearly Rs 3,500 crore, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked for Rs 200 crore from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) to fight Covid-19. It has almost emptied its contingency fund of Rs 900 crore, spending more than Rs 800 crore, most of it on the measures to tackle the pandemic, officials said.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, additional municipal commissioner (health) Suresh Kakani said, “We have just asked the state government to give us Rs 200 crore from the SDRF. So far, we have spent Rs 610 crore on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and will require more.’’

Kakani said that the state was also to pay the civic body funds in lieu of octroi cancellation, and this had not been done for the last three months.

Additional chief secretary (finance) Manoj Saunik said that the government was trying to help all corporations by releasing funds to make up for local body tax and octroi in case of BMC.

While secretary of relief and rehabilitation department Kishor Nimbalkar said, “We have already given Rs 60 crore to the BMC, and Rs 25 crore to the Pune Municipal Corporation. The Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayander civic bodies had been given Rs 10 crore each. The entire Konkan division was granted Rs 235.28 crore. The state relief and rehabilitation department has given Rs 460.13 crore to all corporations and collectorates, including those in Konkan region.’’

The BMC’s finances have been critically hit, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic started.

An officer of BMC’s finance department said, “Our target was to collect Rs 5,500 crore in property tax in the financial year 2019-2020.

Normally, Rs 800 crore is collected in the last week of March, but then the Covid-19 pandemic started, and we are short of our target by Rs 1,500 crore. Besides, the property tax of around Rs 1,000 crore that the BMC collects in the months of April and May has yet come.”

According to a BMC official, Rs 400 crore was to be collected as water and sewerage taxes, but this has also not been received. Much of these taxes could not be collected because the citizen facilitation centres were closed till June.

The BMC is finding ways to cut revenue expenditure and defer certain capital expenditures.

The BMC has Rs 70,000 crore in bank deposits, but does not want to touch it. It is meant for infra development such as tapping new sources of water, laying or repair of pipelines and construction of bridges, said officials.



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