Improve water supply, maximise tax collection, panel tells Palike

Improve water supply, maximise tax collection, panel tells Palike

The Fourth Finance Commission has made a slew of suggestions to improve the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) financial health.

At a meeting on Wednesday at the Palike head office, chairperson of the commission C G Chinnaswamy suggested that the BBMP focus on the water supply before the advent of summer and improve the depleting groundwater table. He suggested that the Palike draw an elaborate action plan for reviving and protecting stormwater drains, canals and lakes.

Chinnaswamy pointed out that property tax is a major source of revenue for the BBMP. There are 25 lakh properties in the city but only 11 lakh are being taxed. He said the BBMP should tally its records with the Bescom and BWSSB to identify the exact number of properties.

There should also be a special drive to identify and register all shops and commercial establishments operating in the city to increase the revenue through trade licences, said Chinnaswamy. For that, the BBMP should strengthen issuance of trade licence online.

Regarding advertisement revenue, Chinnaswamy pointed out that all hoardings must be GIS mapped. He emphasised on the new advertisement policy which prohibits putting up advertisements on private properties in order to preserve the aesthetics of the city.

The finance commission chairperson was critical about the low rent at the Palike markets. He suggested that the rent of the shops be revised. He said a drive must be carried out to initiate action against those who are not paying rent.

Later, Chinnaswamy told reporters that the finance commission carries out such an exercise every year. He said a questionnaire has been given to the BBMP. Based on the reply, state government grants will be decided. “We have been travelling across the state and meeting heads of various urban local bodies. We have some suggestions and questionnaires based on which we will send our final recommendations to the governor before September 17,” said Chinnaswamy.

The recommendations include enhancing fund allocations based on the performance of ULBs. The state government will take a call after discussing the recommendations in the Assembly.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said he has to submit the reply to the questionnaire in 20 days.

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