The ambitious project balloon of the civic body has burst.
Most of the plans featuring in the budget of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) have remained confined to files because of funds crunch. The budget was tabled on March 15 this year.
Funds were allocated in the budget for various civic infrastructure development projects, including public lighting, purchase of buses, development of parks, public toilets and traffic signals. Barring the installation of compact fluorescent lamps at few places, no progress has been made in the remaining projects.
The PMC authorities attributed the delay in the execution of the projects to the civic body’s “financial inability”.
“We are not financially sound enough to generate funds for the execution of big projects like traffic signals or public urinals. Whatever revenue is generated through collection of municipal taxes is spent on the payment of salaries to employees and day-to-day works like sanitation and maintenance of water supply and drainage network. We seek funds in the form of grants from the urban development and housing department for bigger projects for this reason. In fact, we are in talks with the department for seeking funds for public toilets and traffic signals projects,” said Afzal Imam, the mayor.
The urban development and housing department officials, on the other hand, claimed that funds were provided to all the civic bodies for development projects within the budget limitation of the department. “There are no issues with regard to providing funds to the urban local bodies for development projects. If PMC asks for funds for any project citing a proper reason, we shall definitely consider it. The financial support, however, would be within the budget limitation of the department for the municipal corporation category. Moreover, the urban local bodies are expected to be self-sufficient,” said a senior official of urban development and housing department.
Amid the blame game between the authorities, the residents are suffering. Most streets except for those in the VIP areas are enveloped in darkness after sunset in the absence of or malfunctioning of streetlights. The number of public toilets in the city can be counted on fingertips.
Traffic signals work only at the Dakbungalow crossing. In the absence of signals at the rest of the important intersections, traffic mess has become a regular feature in the city.
In the absence of basic infrastructure, residents are naturally aggrieved. “It is hard to believe that we live in a capital city of a state, which talks about topmost growth rates across the country. Not just of this year, I am sure projects mooted five to 10 years ago must be pending. It is a lie that the municipal taxes paid by the residents are exhausted in paying salary to the corporation employees and routine works. Bosses in the civic body must admit now that they are inefficient and incapable of providing quality civic service to the residents of the city,” said R.S. Chaudhary, a resident of Shashtri Nagar.
Are you satisfied with civic amenties? Tell email@example.com