March 24, 2011 3:17:57 am
Civic activists say government ignored Pune airport and Metro plans
The Maharashtra Budget on Wednesday has come in as a big disappointment for city industrialists who point at the miniscule provisions for the city infrastructure and development. Civic activists too are criticising the government for ignoring the Pune Metro.
The government has allocated Rs 162 crore for six airports in the state,including Pune,Navi Mumbai,Kolhapur,Solapur,Gadchiroli and others,which,industrialists feel was a very meagre amount. Two years ago,in 2009-10 budget,the state had allocated Rs 200 crore for Pune airport. Rs 162 crore is grossly inadequate unless the government plans to approach the private sector, said Anant Sardeshmukh,executive director general,Mahratta Chamber of Commerce,Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA).
Other than this,there is no allocation for improving connectivity in Pune. Chandmal Parmar,chairman,road traffic management committee of MCCIA,lamented that the budget had no mention of the Pune Metro.
As far as industries in Pune are concerned,there were no special provisions to strengthen the industrial sector. The provision of extra cess for power generation plants will lead to further rise in power cost. This will increase the input cost,leading to inflation-like situation in the state, Sardeshmukh said. Govind Patwardhan,chairman,state taxation committee,MCCIA,added,Hike in central sales tax will also result in rise in prices of iron and steel prices.
Patwardhan said the industry was expecting some good moves in the budget with the year being the golden jubilee year of the state. However,we were in for disappointment as no special provisions or schemes for common and honest tax payer was made,as demanded by the MCCIA. The finance minister also neglected the issue of tax refunds worth Rs 200 crore pending in the state.
Anil Wakharia,tax consultant and member of state taxation committee,MCCIA,said Finance Minister Ajit Pawar has not touched the issue of corruption,recent financial frauds and any relevant penalties. Instead,the budget talks of unnecessary tax hikes like that for goggles and sunglasses and amnesty schemes announced that are restricted to sugar factories, he said.
According to Sardeshmukh,the only respite seen in the budget was announcement of loan and interest waiver for agri products,plan of rural infrastructure development in association with NABARD and allotting 25 MW capacity power projects to private sector.
Civic activist Vijay Kumbhar said Pune Metro was the need of the hour and the budget shows how much the government cares for Pune. But the sad thing is that people who shout in favour of Pune and its development keep quiet in the Assembly.
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