MC slashes Rose Fest budget by Rs 20 lakh

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Chandigarh, November 26: After criticism from the public as well as councillors, the cash-starved Municipal Corporation today slashed the Rose Festival budget from Rs 86.65 lakh to Rs 66 lakh at the General House meeting here. This expenditure is in addition to what the UT Administration will spend at the Leisure Valley during this fest.

The budget was reduced after it was decided that Rs 20-lakh waterproof tents will not be used during the three-day event in February. However, expenditure on several other heads has raised many an eyebrow.

For organising an “antakshari” during the fest, the corporation will spend Rs 1.75 lakh, while for a newlywed couple competition, Rs 3 lakh has been sanctioned and for the Rose Prince and Rose Princess contest, Rs 2 lakh will be spent. Besides, for playing the piano for welcoming the chief guest, an amount of Rs 1 lakh will be splurged.

“Why can’t we invite sponsorship for organising the fest? The corporation is already facing its worst-ever financial crisis. We should reduce expenditure on unimportant items and contact companies for sponsorship in lieu of advertisements,” suggested the Leader of the Opposition in the MC House, Devinder Singh Babla.

Councillor Arun Sood also expressed surprise over the earlier budget for the fest having been increased from Rs 75.59 lakh last year to Rs 86.65 lakh this year. On this, Superintending Engineer Krishan Pal Singh told him that the budget of the public relations wing had been combined with it and that was why it was looking more.

Later, MC Commissioner KK Yadav agreed to bring down the budget by Rs 20 lakh. He said they had explored the option of sponsorship, but only about Rs 6-7 lakh could be generated this way and the firms concerned expected a lot in return.