Get ready to pay SWM cess in M'lore

Get ready to pay SWM cess in M'lore

Corporators say the move will be a burden on people

Amidst opposition over levying solid waste management (SWM) cess on general public to generate revenue for implementing the three package SWM project in the city, District-in-Charge Minister B Ramanath Rai put the ball to the MCC Administrator’s court, directing him to take a call on the matter after consulting with local MLAs. 

The issue came to the fore at the review meeting of development works in MCC limits, chaired by the District-in-Charge Minister at MCC hall on Monday. MCC Commissioner Ajith Kumar Hegde revealed that the previous deputy commissioner who was also the administrator of the Corporation had approved the proposal on levying SWM cess on July 24, 2013 and it is now upto MCC to implement the cess. “We have received audit objection for not implementing the cess, while all other city corporations in the State have implemented it,” he said.

Objecting to the move, corporators said that it would cause an additional burden on the people. Corporator Mahabal Marla said that people will have to shell out minimum Rs 500 per annum as SWM cess apart from the property tax that they are paying. MLA J R Lobo batted for SWM cess as he said the cess collection was necessary to maintain the city clean and free from litter. 

“Though people expect the city to be clean, they are not ready to pay tax for the maintenance, which is not logical. Cess has to be introduced, perhaps, with revised rates,” he said. Deputy Commissioner and MCC Administrator A B Ibrahim too expressed his willingness to cut down the cess rate. Imposing Rs 500 cess per year, might be a burden for people residing in small houses. As per the approved cess, tax levied for residential buildings upto 1,000 sq ft is Rs 40 per month. This rate could be revised to Rs 20 per month, while the price fixed for houses above 1,000 sq ft and commercial buildings could remain intact,” the DC said.

Tender issues

The meeting witnessed  heated exchange of words between the DC and corporators over the issue of allotting tenders in MCC limits without administrative approval. When the corporators blamed it on the contractors for an inordinate delay in implementing development works, the DC said that the impending disorder was due to allotting tenders without receiving the administrative approval. The district-in-charge minister too held the administrator responsible for the situation.

An angered DC, took it as an insult meted out at him, for the error committed by his predecessors. “All the tenders were allotted before I took charge,” he clarified. Minister Ramanath Rai directed the DC to ensure that all pending works to be completed at the earliest. “All works should be completed on time, failing which officers will be sent home,” he warned. Lobo said that those contractors who failed to take up the work should be blacklisted. 

Rai refused to comment on the proposal of Greater Mangalore and the proposal to revise the self assessment scheme. He suggested to take a decision after the council comes into existence. He also instructed the deputy commissioner to act upon the proposal of constructing a service bus stand at Pumpwell, without further delay. The DC said a full-fledged bus stand could be set up in the available seven acre land, using modern technologies than waiting to acquire additional land. 

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