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Solid waste management user charges introduced

The Tiruchi Corporation’s move to introduce a new levy in the form of solid waste management user charges has drawn flak from a section of city residents.

The Corporation has started collecting the charges this financial year. Tax demand notices sent to residents also mention the levy as a separate head. The solid waste management user charges starts from ₹30 per half-year at the rate of ₹5 a month for a tax assessment of ₹500. But it varies, commensurate with the property tax rates of residential buildings. If a resident is liable to pay property tax of ₹1,000 for his house, the charge will be ₹60 per half-year.

Corporation Special Officer-cum-Commissioner N.Ravichandran said the levy had been introduced as per the government guidelines under the Swachh Bharat Mission. “This is done across the country. But we have fixed the minimum rate of ₹5 a month for property tax assessments of ₹500. We have followed the due procedure, gazetted it and also issued advertisement,” Mr. Ravichandran told The Hindu.

The charge is being levied to meet at least a portion of the expenditure incurred towards sanitation initiatives. Sources in the Corporation said the user charge had been fixed for residential buildings in the city. The charges for commercial and industrial building would be fixed soon and collected from such property owners too.

Taking exception to the move, S.Pushpavanam, Secretary, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, said residents of the city were already paying property, professional tax and water charges, besides underground drainage maintenance charges, so that the Corporation can discharge its duties.

“The primary duty of the Corporation is to keep the city clean by clearing garbage, ensuring sanitation by constructing and maintaining drains and dispose of sewage and laying and maintaining roads. For laying and maintaining roads, it gets special funds from the State Government and it gets funds from State Governments to meet its deficit and for special projects. When such is the case, levying charges for solid waste management separately is bad in law and in ethics. It is an unfair practice,” Mr.Pushpavanam contended. “If this is allowed, tomorrow, they may levy separate charges for cleaning the streets, maintaining drains and paying salaries to staff,” he observed.

No other Corporation such as Madurai, Coimbatore or Tirunelveli has imposed such a tax, he claimed and urged the Tiruchi Corporation authorities to stop collecting the tax and refund it to people who have already paid it.

Other urban local bodies were in the process of fixing and collecting the charges, Mr. Ravichandran pointed out.

Source:http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/solid-waste-management-user-charges-introduced/article19220097.ece

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