Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar presented on Monday Rs24.84 billion budget of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation with a surplus of Rs10million. The budget was approved with a majority of votes.
The budget session was held at the Council Hall of Old KMC building. As soon as the mayor’s budget speech started, the opposition members stood at their benches in protest over KMC’s performance under Wasim Akhtar.
They tore the budget copies and chanted slogans against Mayor Akhtar. The opposition members started chanting “mayor is a liar”, when Akhtar stated that the KMC is conducting free-of-cost COVID-19 test at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
KMC performance in FY2019-20
Akhtar said the KMC started free coronavirus tests, while COVID-19 ward, HDUs and ICUs were also being established at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. These units would have 70 beds and 18 ventilators.
A 100-bed Cardiac Center in Landhi was reserved for COVID-19 patients, according to the mayor. The KMC designated five graveyards for the burial of deceased coronavirus patients.
He said the development schemes under the previous budget were not being completed due to non-availability of funds by the Sindh government. It affected 400 ongoing development schemes, while another 300 could not be initiated.
The Sindh government allocated Rs5,000 million for development schemes in FY2016-17, but released Rs4,100 million, according to Mayor Akhtar. Rs5,000 million were allocated in FY2017-18, but again Rs4,100 million were released.
In FY2018-19, only Rs2,500 million were released out of Rs5,000 million, he said. The Sindh government allocated Rs3,333 million in FY2019-20, but released only Rs625 million.
PM’S Karachi package
Akhtar said the KMC completed three flyovers at Sakhi Hasan, Five Star Chowrangi and KDA Chowrangi, under the prime minister’s special package for Karachi. These projects were completed with a cost of Rs2,386 million.
The KMC constructed 8.1-kilometer road from Jam Chakro to Banaras Chowk with a cost of Rs2,440.50 million, besides construction of another road from Teen Hatti to Napier Road that costed Rs1,900million.
Rs8.4 billion were allocated for the medical and dental college at the Karachi University, while Rs1,876 million were earmarked for the up-gradation of the Fire Brigade Department.
The federal government will provide 50 fire tenders worth Rs1,468 million to the KMC. The corporation will also be provided a 70-meter aerial platform ladder for firefighting, which would cost Rs640 million.
The Karachi mayor said the centre, under PM’s Karachi package, approved development projects worth Rs6.25 billion. It released Rs1 billion while the remaining funds would be released in August 2020.
He said Rs217.911 million would be spent for the rectification of the sewerage system, roads and streets in East district, Rs62.321 million on water and sewerage, roads and streets in District Korangi, Rs95.42 million on infrastructure in South district, Rs124.45 million on District Central infrastructure, Rs155.95 million in West District and Rs1,451.34 million would be spent on infrastructure in District Malir.
Salient features of Budget 2020-21
Highlighting the salient features of Budget 2020-21, the Karachi mayor said neither any new taxes were imposed in the budget, nor any fee was increased.
He said Rs300 million have been allocated for development works in Shahabuddin Market and commercial parking plaza near the Empress Market.
Rs250million have been earmarked for repair and maintenance of different roads, footpaths sewage lines, bridges and roundabouts and another Rs250 million for construction of different roads in Karachi.
Akhtar said Rs180milion have been earmarked for annual repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and footpaths in different districts, while Rs120 million for the up-gradation of Nehr-e-Khayyam, Rs120 million for development works at the level of different union councils, Rs100 million for the purchase of ventilators for KMC hospitals, Rs100 million for medical and electrical equipment for hospitals, Rs100 million for renovation of Kidney Hill Park, Rs100 million for renovation of other KMC parks and Rs100 million for cleaning of stormwater drains.
Rs75million each have been allocated for the improvement of bridges, flyovers and underpasses and construction of parking terminal at Zulfiqarabad Oil Terminal Phase-II, and for the construction of a new fire station and transfer of garbage to landfill site, according to the mayor.
Furthermore, Rs52 million have been allocated for the development and improvement and Rs50 million for the purchase of animals and birds for Karachi Zoo and Safari Park.