The recent diktat of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike asking apartments, hotels and marriage halls (bulk generators) to segregate their waste and pay for the disposal appears to contravene the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
Rule 103B of KMC Act states: “The corporation may, in addition to property tax levied under Section 103, levy a solid waste management cess at such rate not exceeding one thousand rupees per month as may be prescribed, on every owner or occupier of buildings or lands or both in the city, for the purpose of collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste and different rates may be prescribed in respect of different classes of lands or buildings or in different areas.”
Pay for disposal
The Palike, while making segregation at source mandatory, has asked apartments with more than 10 units to pay for disposal of garbage.
The civic agency now collects three per cent of property tax as garbage cess. Some citizens feel that garbage cess is unfair since it is the people who have been asked to segregate garbage at source.
“The collection of garbage cess is completely unfair with the Palike not even showing accounts of the money spent, area-wise. Why collect the cess when apartments and hotels are asked to fend for themselves?” said Brigadier Narasimhan, founder member of the HBR Layout residents’ welfare association.
The Palike officials themselves have reservation over collection of garbage cess.
“The cess is absolutely pointless in terms of revenue generation. We have been suggesting the administration to scrap the levy, since it has not been yielding substantial revenue,” a senior Palike official said. According to officials, the sum collected under the head was Rs 26 crore durin-g the fiscal 2011-12. However, officials also say that garbage cess is mandatory under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission and the Union government would not release funds under the scheme if the cess is not imposed.
Taxation and Finance Committee chairperson, Muneendra Kumar, said there was no question of withdrawing the cess. “Will the citizens agree for a hike in property tax if the cess is withdrawn” he questioned.
Palike Commissioner Rajneesh Goel said garbage cess was not under his purview and the BBMP Council was the only authority on the matter.
The garbage cess is Rs 10 a month on residential properties measuring 1,000 sq ft, Rs 30 on those measuring 1,001 sq ft - 3,000 sq ft and Rs 50 a month on properties measuring above 3,001 sq ft.
The slab for commercial buildings is: Rs 50 up to 1,000 sq ft, Rs 100 for spaces between 1,001 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft and Rs 200 a month for properties above 5,000 sq ft.