The coffers of the MCGM seem to be crippling down which has majorly affected the road repair work of the city and the state government has also roped in MCGM officials to enforce silence zones. BMC’S CASH CRUNCH BRINGS ROAD PROJECTS TO A HALT The financial ill-health of the municipal corporation has now begun to create a roadblock for the development works in the city. Senior civic officials said that the finance department of the corporation, which recently released a circular announcing measures to be taken to bring down establishment costs and increase revenue sources, has put the clearance for many proposed infrastructure projects in the city on hold. The officials added that the worst affected by the downturn was the road department. Proposals for concretisation and asphalting of several road stretches have been put on the back burner. The finance department has been holding back clearance for these files. Officials say that the MCGM cannot afford to allocate funds for new works until its financial position shows revival signs. Ongoing road projects have also been affected. The finance department has postponed issuing payments for road projects worth Rs900 crore. Even as road department officials were hoping that this delay in payments wiil not affect the pace of the work, insiders suggested that the morale of the contractors was likely to be affected by the decision. Projects for widening of the drains as a flood relief measure and water supply projects proposed to improve distribution were among the others likely to be affected by the financial downturn. MCGM ALSO ROPED IN TO ENFORCE SILENCE ZONES Besides the local police force, the State government has now also appointed commissioners, additional commissioner and deputy commissioners in municipal bodies as designated authorities to ensure effective implementation of silence zones. In an order issued by the State’s Urban Development (UD) department, all municipal commissioners and chief officers of municipal councils have been asked to take it upon themselves to demarcate the 100-metre areas around hospitals, educational institutes and courts as silence zones. Till date, neither the State government department, nor the civic body was ready to take the responsibility of implementing the same and until now, it was only the traffic police division that was entrusted with the role of implementing zone guidelines, which included displaying necessary boards, wherever required. According to the new UD department directive all civic bodies would have to display boards demarcating silence zones – and municipal commissioners or their deputies would have work as the designated authority. Significantly, the new directive offers no relief to educational institutes, which had asked for the relaxation of silence zone rules for at least a few days, and particularly on Sundays, when the institute premises – or the grounds adjacent to them – are used for sports activities and other functions. The government order, however, is silent on the demand.
September 10, 2009