Pune: It has become clear that development work in Pune and the district will get hampered as the State government has declared a financial crisis situation. Ambitious development projects such as the Pune Metro railway expansion, High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR), flyovers, Pune Metropolitan Regional Authority (PMRDA) Ring road and the Purandar Airport will not take off till the financial condition improves.
Ambitious development projects
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and PMRDA have planned ambitious development projects to boost the economy and provide better infrastructure within their limits. Following the formation of the Mahavikas Aghadi coalition by three parties – the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, the State government was ready to launch major projects to attract foreign investment and spin the wheel of State of the economy.
These projects were also mentioned in the State annual budget for the year 2020-21, Funds were allocated to start these projects in this financial year.
However, COVID-19 epidemic has hit the economy badly. Following the lockdown for over two months, some businesses are still trying to resume work. But they are not sure how much time they will need to normalise operations.
The Pune metro network expansion, HCMTR and dozens of flyovers will be directly affected due to the financial crisis declared by the State government. On the other hand, PMRDA will have to freeze the Purandar Airport and Outer ring road projects.
These plans will be affected due to the State government order to curtail expenses and spend only 33 per cent of the budget on essential things like salary, pension and health services and not on any big development projects. It has also instructed the authorities to hold mega and heavy investment projects.
Development expenditure slashed
The State government instructed to stop expenses on office renovation, stationery, consultancies and rents, among others. The government has slashed 67 per cent of the development expenditure. It has also frozen fresh recruitments till further orders.
The State has instructed all department secretaries to review all ongoing schemes and prioritise only unavoidable works or schemes. Some will be stayed while others will be cancelled.
Within the 33 per cent expenditure, funds will be spent on priority on salary, pension, mid-day meals, the State government’s share in the central government-sponsored schemes, health-related schemes and COVID-19 expenditures.