Opposition leader Antony Kureethara said the current Budget had only rehashed ideas presented in the past 10 years and placed them under different heads. “Several projects presented in the Budget are existing State and Union government projects. Projects that are under way under the Smart Cities Mission were also repeated,” he said.
Speaking at a press meet after the Budget presentation, Mr. Kureethara said the allocation of ₹5 crore for the tourism sector was insufficient and no detailed plan or vision was in place to promote tourism. “Only ₹1 crore has been set aside for the fisheries sector, leaving the sector with very few prospects for development. Sufficient funds have also not been allotted to the SC/ST communities. The absence of any project for Kokers Theatre was conspicuous. The land that the theatre occupies would be of great value, but it is now lying unused and covered with weeds,” he said.
The Budget was presented without much clarity, and no explanation on the means of increasing the Corporation’s revenue sources, said Mr. Kureethara.
UDF councillor Deepthi Mary Varghese said the Budget made promises that looked pretty only on paper. “The Budget says that e-governance will be implemented in six months, which is not feasible considering the volume of data that needs to be transferred. The Budget makes it appear as if the previous councils had left the Corporation with large financial liabilities,” she said.
Ensuring access to clean drinking water, active interventions to handle repercussions of climate change, and building a city that is friendly towards children, women and differently abled persons are the Budget’s focus areas, said Mayor M. Anilkumar, before the budget was presented by Deputy Mayor K.A. Ansiya.
The Budget anticipates income of ₹912 crore and expenditure of ₹874 crore, with ₹37 crore as surplus. “Projects proposed in the Budget would be implemented by integrating funds from various sources, including State and Union government funds, and CSR contributions. We are anticipating more allocations from the Union government,” the Mayor said at the press meet later. Additionally, stringent management of finances would be necessary to reduce expenses, he said. An extended council meeting would be held with residents’ associations, merchants’ groups, and the various agencies working in the city to work out the details of the proposals. Some projects that had been part of the previous council’s proposals had been repeated since they would be continued, he added.