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Smart city funding could see Mangaluru civic body deprived of nagarothana grants

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City’s selection under smart city project of ministry of urban development could see the state government nix Rs 100 crore special grant given to Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC). The government has released Rs 100 crore special grants to all city corporations in Karnataka barring BBMP in three separate tranches of Rs 100 crore each. Most city corporations barring MCC have already been allocated the fourth tranche of Rs 100 crore grant as well. Hinting at the possibility of MCC being denied the fourth tranche of the special nagarothana grants, Mangaluru City South MLA J R Lobo said since the state government has to pool in its share of Rs 1200 crore for the six cities from Karnataka selected under the smart city project, it may not release nagarothana grants to such civic bodies if allocation has already not been done for this will cast additional financial burden on the state government, the MLA noted.

Addressing concerns raised by corporators at the monthly meeting of the council of MCC on Tuesday, Lobo said senior bureaucrats have dropped clear hints that the city corporation might not get the fourth tranche of grants and it would have to do with developmental grants given under the smart cities project. “Notwithstanding this, we have represented the issue to CM Siddaramaiah urging him not to deny the city of development grants it badly needs,” he asserted.At the same time, the state government is committed to releasing Rs 100 crore grants under the third tranche of funds and will do so, Lobo said. Out of this, the civic body will have to set aside Rs 36 crore to meet its commitment to ADB sponsored work, and like wise use another substantial portion from the second tranche towards its commitment for projects under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation scheme of the MoUD, the MLA reminded.

However, sounding a note of optimism, Lobo said the CM, who holds the finance portfolio, could still override the bureaucratic caution sounded on this front. “It depends on the overall revenue mobilization and if the CM has the leeway to meet the city’s need for funds as represented to him by a delegation of all MLAs from the district headed by the district in-charge minister B Ramanath Rai,” Lobo told TOI, adding the state budget could hold answers to this question.

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