Pune’s ‘smart residents’ in Aundh, Baner, Balewadi may have to pay user charges under property tax
Residents of Aundh, Baner and Balewadi who will draw the benefits of the Smart City initiatives in their area should be prepared to pay more taxes under ‘user charges’ to be introduced by Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL).pune Updated: Sep 14, 2017 13:22 IST
Residents of Aundh, Baner and Balewadi who will draw benefits of the Smart City initiatives in their area should be prepared to pay more taxes under ‘user charges’ to be introduced by the Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL).
While the additional tax to be paid is yet to be finalised, it will be applied similarly to residents of the Smart City area in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Pune Smart City CEO, Rajendra Jagtap, confirmed that these charges would be introduced in view of the infrastructure upgradation in these areas.
“The government is spending more than ₹1,000 crore for better infrastructure and facilities in these areas. Since the area residents are getting better infrastructure, they won’t mind paying user charges. This concept was mentioned at the time of launching the Smart City mission,” he said.
The senior official said that while the central and state governments and local bodies were investing heavily in infrastructure, proper maintenance is also necessary. This would require additional funds which would be raised through user charges. These charges won’t be very high, but would be rationalised and linked to property tax.
Incidentally, it was only last week that vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, previously, NDA’s Urban development minister, had said that people must be prepared to pay higher taxes or user charges for Smart Cities. This burden will have to be borne by the people for availing “modern infrastructure in the existing ones,” he had said at a meeting in Ranchi.
Leader of Opposition in PMC, Chetan Tupe, said that while he was not aware of this development, the NCP will oppose it fiercely. He criticised the Smart City project saying that nothing substantial has been delivered and the government has already started talking of additional charges.
Congress leader Arvind Shinde said he had forewarned about the additional taxes while opposing the Smart City project in the PMC’s general body meeting. “Nobody paid attention then, but people will oppose it once it is enforced,” he said.
The Smart City mission document presents the principle for levying user charges thus: Where services can be measured and beneficiaries identified; user charges could be levied for maintenance, and that it would be linked to improved quality of service. The funds for these Smart City projects are raised from a variety of public and private sources.