MC passes interim budget of Rs 630 cr

Continuing with the declining trend, reflective of the civic body's poor fiscal state, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation on Saturday passed an interim budget of Rs 630.98 crore, the lowest such in three years. It has also fallen way short of the Rs 1000 cr estimate that the Mayor had proposed a few days ago.

The MC budget was Rs 741.25 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 801 crore in 2011-12.

This year, while Rs 440.18 crore has been proposed for the general branch, around Rs 190.80 crore has been set aside for the MC's Operations & Maintenance cell. It is, however, the first time that that the column for house tax recovery has been left blank in the budget as the civic body is now working on implementing property tax from April 1. The MC had expected a whopping Rs 90 crore from house tax recovery.

Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, meanwhile, stressed on the interim nature of the budget. Addressing the House, he said: "The House is requested to note that this is only the interim budget in which income expected from property tax is not included as values are yet to be finalised. After they are finalised, another budget session will be held, where the final figures will be presented."

There was, however, an uproar in the House on Saturday after the Mayor refused to let Congress councillors speak during the session. He hurriedly announced that the budget had been passed and left the hall leaving the Congress councillors fuming even as SAD's main alliance partner, the BJP, was playing the role of the Opposition. "It is a complete murder of democracy. The Opposition was not even allowed to raise objections and the Mayor, assuming things, declared the budget passed," said Gurpreet Singh Gogi, a Congress councillor.

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