The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Budget boost to growth

Siliguri, June 29: The mayor of the Left-backed Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) today placed the deficit budget for 2006-2007, even as the 11 opposition councillors decided to boycott the discussions tomorrow.

At the board meeting convened here, mayor Bikash Ghosh put the total estimated expenditure at Rs 55,27,30,000 as against total earnings of Rs 55,13,50,000, thereby ending the last fiscal with a deficit of Rs 13,80,000.

Ghosh, however, claimed that the civic body's own earnings would end with a surplus of Rs 3,73,70,000, which is about Rs 1.5 crore higher than the last financial year.

'We have not imposed any new tax on residents and have instead planned to boost our income from alternative sources like cable operators and mobile service providers (see chart),' the mayor told reporters after the meeting.

The budget tabled today showed sharp increases in allotments made for general administration, conservancy, education and culture, sports, the indoor stadium, guest houses and poverty alleviation and slum improvement. The highest allotment, a sum of Rs 12,79,50,000, however, is for PWD projects like roads and drainage.

'We have increased these allotments as we have a lot to do in these areas. Specific plans have been drawn up and work will start soon,' the mayor said.

In his speech, the mayor also mentioned that the board is likely to conduct a survey to find out the number of cable connections in the SMC area, before finalising the tax. 'We will seek a declaration from cable operators and will conduct a survey if necessary,' Ghosh said.

Krishna Pal (Trinamul), the leader of the Opposition in the SMC, said the budget is a farce and announced that they will boycott tomorrow's discussions and hold a parallel mock budget session.

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