The third wave of COVID-19 that has hit the State hard has left an impact on the annual Plan fund utilisation of civic bodies. With two months left for the completion of the fiscal, civic bodies across the State are struggling to utilise the annual Plan funds allotted by the State government. Local bodies that which fail to achieve a minimum level of spending risk losing the unspent amount from the Plan fund allocation to be made next year.
Even the Kochi Corporation, which tops the list of the six Corporations in the State, could utilise only ₹42.61 crore till date, which accounts for 32.83% of the ₹129.79 crore allotted by the State government for the 2021-2022 fiscal. Among Corporations, the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram utilised the least, spending only 19.43% of its Plan fund of ₹251.71 crore. As per Local Self-government Department figures, the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation could utilise only ₹48.90 crore till date.
The Kollam Corporation utilised 31.41% of the funds, followed by Kozhikode (24.61%), Thrissur (23.45%) and Kannur (19.68%). Among municipalities in Ernakulam district, Angamaly utilised 55.43% of Plan funds, Muvattupuzha (47.20%) and Piravam (46.25%), figuring among the top 30 performers in the State. The Ernakulam district panchayat is in the sixth position in the list of seven, utilising only 30.05% of the funds. Kochi Mayor M. Anilkumar said that it was during the three months from January that the local bodies went full steam into implementing projects. “Unfortunately, the State is reeling under COVID-19 impact in January. This has hit Plan projects, with local bodies unable to convene requisite meetings. The spread of the infection among employees too has had an impact on project implementation,” said Mr. Anilkumar.