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More funds for councillors

In the municipal budget for the coming year, ward councillors’ funds have been increased from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh. This means councillors will have an extra Rs 2 lakh to spend on the upkeep of their wards, such as buying books for block libraries or helping with the community halls.

The civic budget for 2013-2014, that was presented last week, has also set aside funds to develop block markets, improve fire-fighting measures in markets and modernise the EE Block-based government hospital Matri Sadan. New municipal schools will be built, a railway reservation counter will be opened at Poura Bhavan, construction will begin of an old age home and precautions will be taken to keep dengue at bay.

Eye on health in budget

Three health centres will also come up — one in AC Block in Sector I, one in FD Block in Sector III and another in Sector II. The plot has not been identified for this yet. “This is for the treatment of basic illnesses, so that residents need not to rush to Matri Sadan or the sub-divisional hospital all the time,” an official said.

With the help of Bidhannagar Commissionerate, the civic body would employ 250 night guards to keep vigil on cars parked on the roads.

Rs 5 lakh has been allocated for township beautification so expect more trident lamps and decoration on road dividers. The vats will get covered and painted, and conservancy (that includes garbage collection) has been allotted Rs 4 crore.

In the centenary year of Tagore’s Nobel prize, there is hope of Rabindra Bhavan, a sculpture training centre at FE 505, coming up. Work on this four-storeyed institute will begin in May.

In the next financial year, the municipality hopes to earn around Rs 16 crore from property tax. Fresh bills would be sent for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, which too would be based on the rate prevalent on June 30, 2005.

Stress will be laid on mop up of pending mutation charges. Till December, in the last financial year the civic body had received Rs 57.1 lakh. But in the revised budget for 2012-13, a target of Rs 2 crore has been set. The same amount has been named in the budget estimate for 2013-14 as well.

“There are many commercial plots especially in blocks like IB, JC, JD, HC and HB where institutions and shops have come up. The mutation process fee has not been collected from them, in many cases since 2005,” said an officer of the municipality’s finance department.

The estimate for the total income for 2013-2014 is Rs 120 crore while that of the total expenses is Rs 119.98 crore, yielding an estimated surplus of around Rs 2.26 lakh. In the revised budget estimate for 2012-13, the projected surplus for the current year is Rs 1.91 lakh, slightly lower than the Rs 2.3 lakh surplus projected last year.