Kolkata Municipal Corporation reels under fund crunch, stops pension

by IANS |

Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) The precarious financial condition of the state was again evident when the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) decided to stop pension of all the employees who have retired after September 2021 due to fund crunch.

On Friday evening, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation gave a notice announcing their inconvenience to give the pension to the employees who have retired after September 2021 because of the fund crunch. Not only the retired employees but the civic body has failed to give money to the daily wage labourers and contract staff for the last eight months making it evident that the financial situation of the urban body is in shambles.

The situation is such that the KMC authorities cannot say when they would be able to regularise the pension and make payments to the contract labourers and contract staff. "Right now, it is impossible when the financial situation will normalise. We are trying to solve the situation," a senior KMC official said.

Firhad Hakim, who became the mayor of KMC for the second time, has already informed that the financial situation of the Corporation is not healthy and everyone will have to work with some constraints. Accepting the challenge, he took certain steps to better the financial situation of the corporation. The corporation asked for a loan of Rs 700 crore from the state government and Asian Development Bank gave the corporation a loan of Rs 2,000 crore. Though the corporation thought to overcome the difficulties through this but now it is evident that it was not enough for the corporation to tide over the problem.

According to financial experts, the financial problem of the corporation cannot be separated from that of the state because the pathetic financial condition of the state will inevitably reflect in the financial health of the civic body. The state had taken a loan from the open market for the third time in this month making it evident that it is struggling hard to negotiate the expenses caused by the social schemes launched by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

According to the statement issued by the Reserve Bank of India, the state borrowed Rs 3,000 crore from the open market on Monday -- third time in this month taking the total borrowings to Rs 6,500 crore in this month -- the second highest state after Uttar Pradesh to borrow such a huge amount from the market. Earlier the state had borrowed Rs 3,500 crore in two installments in this month.

The notification issued by the RBI said that altogether 14 states borrowed a total of Rs 24,639 crore from the open market on Monday. Uttar Pradesh borrowed Rs 5,000 crore -- the state has the highest borrowing from the market.

Earlier this month -- on January 18 -- altogether 12 states borrowed a total of Rs 20,659 crore from the market. Of these 12 states, West Bengal had a debt of Rs 1,000 crore. Uttar Pradesh that borrowed Rs 3,000 crore was the highest borrower. Prior to this -- on January 6 -- the West Bengal government borrowed Rs 2,500 crore from the market. West Bengal then was the highest of the nine states that borrowed from the market.

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