RAWALPINDI: Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood on Thursday approved the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation’s (RMC) Rs3.5 billion surplus budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, with Rs2.1bn allocated to development projects.

The budget was presented by RMC Chief Municipal Officer Khawaja Imran Safdar.

This is the second budget of the city since the change in the local government system. In 2019, the Punjab government replaced elected members of civic bodies across the province with commissioners as administrators.

According to the approved budget, the total outlay of which is approximately Rs3.5bn, Rs2.1bn have been allocated for development work and Rs1.3bn for non-development expenditure.

The budget has allocated Rs267.8 million for the salaries for RMC employees, Rs500m for the pensions of former employees, Rs274.7m for contingency, services and commodities and Rs20m for miscellaneous expenditures.

The RMC has also allocated 2pc of its budget to sport and youth development on directions from the Punjab government. For the corporation’s funding generation programme, the RMC is planning to turn its old office building near Fawara Chowk on Jinnah Road - commonly known as City Saddar Road - into a carpark.

The RMC did not begin any development projects last year despite being allocated more than Rs1.6bn in this regard. It instead used this money to pay pensions of former employees, on directives from the provincial government.

When contacted, Mr Safdar, the chief municipal officer, said that the RMC plans to use development funds on major projects and roads and streets have already been improved.

He said Rs60m would be spent on the construction of a park by the Pirwadhai General Bus Stand and Rs105m would be spent on renovating Jinnah Hall.

Another Rs20m have been allocated to appoint an adviser for the construction of a carpark on City Saddar Road, at the site of the old RMC building, he said. The carpark will be constructed under a public-private partnership and a plan has been sent to the Public Private Partnership Authority in Lahore.

Mr Safdar said Rs570m have been allocated for ongoing development projects, adding that tenders have been awarded but work could not begin because of the lockdown.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2020