AHMEDABAD: The municipal budget for 2014-15 will just cross the Rs 6,000-crore mark this year, said some senior AMC officials. With no new JNNURM project approvals and the nearly empty coffers of the once cash rich AMC, the civic body would be forced to tighten its purse strings this year.
Last year, municipal commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra had presented a budget of Rs 5,400 crore while the standing committee had approved a budget of Rs 4,951 crore for the civic body with almost 60% hike in property taxes. With property tax collections meeting the mid-term target of Rs 700 crore by March-end, senior finance department officials say that this year, the property tax target may be increased to Rs 800 crore for the upcoming financial year. However, senior AMC officials deny that there will be any major hike in property taxes this year as 2014 is an election year.
"Tthe budget will hover around Rs 5,400 crore mark, with the municipal commissioner announcing a few hundred crore extra on Friday," said an AMC official.
"In the absence of major JNNURM projects, this year the AMC has sought a grant of more than Rs 500 crore under the Swarnim Gujarat urban development funds from the state government. The Swarnim funds will make up for the bulk of grants required to meet capital costs," said the official.
Another major thrust this year would be on housing for lower income groups (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS), an STP plant to help replace Narmada waters being used for the Sabarmati riverfront and also on finalizing the entertainment projects that will come up on the riverfront, including the giant observation wheel. Officials also hint at a possible announcement of riverfront real estate sale this year.