Presenting a whopping Rs 45,949.21 crore budget 2022-2023, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday laid emphasis on infrastructure, health, carbon neutrality in various sectors, transportation and “ease” and “quality” of living for Mumbaikars, while delivering on the ruling Shiv Sean's promise of waiving property tax for 16.14 lakh citizens living in flats of the carpet area of 500 square foot or less.
Unveiling the Rs 45,949.21 crore BMC budget for 2022-23-- which is larger in terms of outlay than that of many smaller States in the country-- at the civic standing committee, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal announced an allocation of a staggering Rs 22646.73 crore for the year which would facilitate speedy completion of major projects like the ambitious Coastal Road Project, Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road (GMLR), STP, major Pipeline works, Mithi River Projects, Rejuvenation of Rivers, Ashray Yojana and development works of various hospitals.
The BMC budget presented by Chahal shows a 17.70 per cent increase in the annual outlay – from Rs 39,039.83 during 2021-22 to Rs 45,949.21 crore during 2022-2023. “The share of Capital Expenditure is consistently increasing year by year. The Expenditure on infrastructure projects has increased two-fold recently, for providing better infrastructural facilities and modernized services,” the BMC chief said.
In line with the promise made by the then ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance ahead of the 2017 BMC polls in 2017 and the reiteration made by the Sena-led MVA government, the BMC chief announced waiver of property tax for flats measuring up to 500 sq feet in the metropolis. “Around 16.14 lakh citizens get 100 per cent relief from all components of Property Tax payment permanently. The benefit to the citizens is about Rs 462 crore per annum,” Chahal said.
Chahal said that the BMC had made 50 per cent progress in the execution of the 29.2 km Mumbai Coastal Road Project – which will connect Marine Lines in south Mumbai with Kandivli in north Mumbai. “We are determined to complete 90 per cent of the project work by the end of 2022-23 and completion of the 100 per cent project will be achieved by 2024. This project will help a very large number of citizens to save time and fuel. Similarly we expect to complete the GMLR project in 2022”.
Chahal announced that the BMC planned to set up 100 health outlets across the metropolis under the Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Health Centre which aims to provide preventive and primary treatment facilities to citizens close to their residence.
“At these health outlets, citizens can get various types of tests and diagnostic tests at nominal rate. These outlets will also facilitate consultation by specialists and super specialists. We have allocated Rs 400 crore during 2022022 for the first phase of the project. In addition, We have set aside Rs 303.95 crore for upgradation of dispensaries, maternity homes, standardization of 13 dispensaries.We intend to commission two maternity homes at Rawalpada Shivaji Nagar,” Chahal said.
Chahal said that with the help of Nair Hospital and its Alumni, a Genome Sequencing Lab had recently been established in Kasturba Hospital with a capacity to investigate about 350 viral samples at a time.
In another major announced made in the pre-BMC poll budget, Chahal said that the civic body would undertake major flood-control measures using a allocation of Rs 1539.79 crore made in the current budget for the revival of the 18-kms long Mithi River and its other branches in the suburbs at Dahisar, Poisar, Oshiwara and their major drainage nullahs, plus 386 chronic flood spots that result in submerging many parts of the city during the monsoons.
“Ninety five percent of the widening and deepening work, 80 percent of retaining wall construction of Mithi River are completed which has doubled the holding capacity and carrying capacity by 3 times, while the plan for development and pollution control is ready and shall be implemented in four packages,” Chahal said.
Chahal said that ass part of the initiatives being taken to ensure “ease” and “quality” of living for Mumbaikars, the BMC had started the process of empanelment of Urban Space Designers who would study and rework on the roads, foot paths and community spaces to increase the ”Ease of Walking?.
He said that a significant 219 kms of roads in the city will be improved during the year, electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations in all the 30 major public parking lots, EVs shall be deployed for garbage collection-segregation, Rs 1 crore specifically for ‘electric and electronic waste’ recovery centre in each BMC Ward, more electric crematoria and eco-friendly funeral pyres.
Chahal said that the BMC -- which on January 4, 2022 became only the 3rd civic body in the world after Dubai and Singapore, to offer public services via a ChatBot, would provide easy access to about 80 of its services to Mumbaikars through a WhatsApp Chatbot.