After five days of discussions, most of which went off-track, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (NMMC) general body approved the annual civic budget late on Wednesday, sanctioning Rs2,987 crore for 2017-18.
However, it rejected the proposed increase in water taxes and other taxes proposed by former municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe.
In a first, the civic body sought suggestions from residents and incorporated them into the budget, said mayor Sudhakar Sonawane. He added that the budget will ensure that the city is developed in a balanced way and schools in Navi Mumbai are modernised.
“We have ensured that there will be no increase in taxes for the residents,” he added.
Earlier, Mundhe had presented a budget of Rs2,999.47 crore. After heated discussions for three days, standing committee chairman Shivram Patil reduced the budget estimates by Rs65 crore, fixing the figure at Rs2,934 crore.
This was the first time that the standing committee reduced the municipal commissioner’s budget proposal. Mundhe fought with the standing committee and rejected their proposal.
Mundhe had also proposed an increase in water charges through the introduction of a telescopic rate — in which rate increases as the consumption rises — and a tax on solid waste management. The standing committee, however, rejected the hikes.
The general body usually discusses the budget for two days, makes changes and then approves it.
However, this time, it took five days to finalise the budget as corporators spent the first two days attacking the commissioner’s anti-encroachment stance.
Shiv Sena corporator Namdeo Bhagat recited a poem expressing his anger towards Mundhe and his actions in the past year. In the middle of budget discussions, Mundhe was abruptly transferred.
“The final budget is Rs53 crore higher than that sanctioned by the standing committee. It is Rs2,987 crore,” said Sonawane.