Gaping hole in GCC’s wallet as pandemic costs Rs 671 cr

The COVID-19 pandemic not only wreaked havoc on the finances of individuals, but it had also severely hit the coffers of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC).
Greater Chennai Corporation
Greater Chennai Corporation

CHENNAI: The civic body has spent over Rs 670 crore to fight the pandemic in the last two years. However, no fund has been allotted for COVID-19 for the current financial year.

According to budget estimates presented in the Chennai Corporation Council on Saturday, a whopping Rs 671 crore was spent during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 financial years. More than Rs 310 crore was spent in 2021-2022 while Rs 361 crore was spent in 2020-2021. This excludes expenses incurred for vaccination camps and sample testing, both of which were carried out by the state government.

The spending was made towards food expenses, procurement of medicine, face mask, equipment, hiring manpower, electrical arrangements at COVID facilities, and others. The civic body provided free food to the patients admitted in COVID care centres and hired temporary doctors, FOCUS volunteers, and survey workers. Out of the Rs 310 crore spent in 2021-2022, over Rs 116 crore was spent on hiring manpower. Medicines, face masks and others cost more than Rs 72 crore.

During 2020-2021, close to Rs 150 crore was spent on manpower and Rs 3.20 crore was given to persons with disabilities as a COVID-19 relief fund. However, no such relief was provided in 2021-2022.

In 2021-2022, zonal offices spent around Rs 110 crore for minor expenses. Among the 15 zones, Adyar spent the most — over Rs 14.7 crore with Royapuram, Ambattur, and Teynampet spent over Rs 10 crore respectively. These 4 zones had recorded the largest number of cases during the second and third wave of the pandemic.

The budget estimate has not allocated funds for COVID-19 related expenses for 2022-2023.

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