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Healthy finances of the Chennai Corporation

The budget for 2014-15 of the Corporation of Chennai presented by Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy has proposed to go for public-private partnerships in select Corporation schools. IE had mooted this idea over a year ago and spent considerable efforts and time with the Mayor and other senior officials.

For long, the finances of the Corporation of Chennai did not compare well with those of its counterparts at Delhi or Mumbai. The budget for 2014-15 marks a quantum jump in revenues and expenditure, each of around Rs 4200 crore. The estimated capital expenditure of Rs 2000 crore with roads and parks accounting for Rs 1301 crore appears healthy.

Proposals for multi level parking lots, construction of bridges and grade separators, attention to solid waste management, education and family welfare are especially welcome. However, outlays have not been matched by outcomes. A Times of India report mentions the inability of the Corporation to spend 69 per cent of the amounts allocated last year to various departments.

There is a constant complaint of the poor quality

of projects executed. Even concrete roads that are supposed to last a few decades are found to be of poor quality with cracks and pot holes developing within months of laying. The popularity of Amma Canteens is leading the Corporation setting up Amma Theatres that will offer tickets at much lower prices than private cinema houses. There is an attempt to go for more of Corporation-run enterprises. In the light of the poor record of Corporation schools, the civic body would do well to function as a facilitator.

 

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