MCC clueless about using greenery cess

MCC clueless about using greenery cess

Activists have written to the Lokayukta seeking a probe into the misappropriation of greenery cess to the tune of Rs 6.47 crore by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC).

According to information obtained under RTI, National Environment Care Federation (NECF) General Secretary Shashidhar Shetty informs that a total of Rs 6,51,78,610 was collected in the form of green cess between 2003 and 2017 from the public.

Shetty told DH that the greenery cess, imposed as part of various taxes in MCC limits, should be utilised towards urban forestry. Of the total amount of Rs 6,51,78,610 collected by MCC in the past 15 years, only Rs 4,50,000 was transferred to the Forest Department. The whereabouts of the remaining Rs 6,47,28,610 remains a mystery, he added.

The DH correspondent’s RTI query to MCC seeking information about the amount collected under greenery cess from 2003 and 2018 received a partial response from MCC.

The Public Information Officer (PIO) in MCC had provided information about the amount collected but had avoided the second part of the query which had sought information on the amount utilised so far. 

MCC Commissioner B A Nazir told DH that the funds collected under greenery cess are being utilised towards the planting of saplings, security, cleanliness and overall maintenance of parks in the city corporation limits.

“Environmentalists are making claims of misappropriation of greenery cess funds without any basis,” he charged. 

Sources in the MCC pointed out that there were no proper guidelines from the government for utilisation of greenery cess for city corporations like Mangaluru.

“Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a separate committee to oversee the effective utilisation of amount collected under greenery cess. MCC neither has a committee and adding to its woes, the major posts in their horticultural wing are lying vacant,” sources told DH.