Pune slum dwellers can afford to pay service charges, says deputy mayor
Explaining the reason behind introducing this charge, deputy mayor said that slum dwellers also enjoyed basic facilities provided by the PMCpune Updated: Sep 15, 2017 17:03 IST
In a fast growing city like Pune, surprisingly, almost 40% of the population lives in 500 slums spread across the city. Now, civic officials have put forth a demand to introduce service charges for all slum dwellers.
Deputy mayor Siddhartha Dhende and former standing committee chairman Bapu Karne, have put a proposal to the standing committee of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), to introduce service charges for all slum dwellers. The PMC administration has suggested the elected members take a policy decision on the same.
Dhende, who is from the Republican Party of India (Athwale) told Hindustan Times, “As slum dwellers are using all the basic services like water, sewage, road, cleaning, health, schools and many more, they should be charged a service charge. All the slums have electric connections and TVs in their homes. If they are able to pay the charges for those, they would not mind paying a service charge to the PMC.”
The slums have many commercial properties, including jewellery and mobile phone shops. Deputy mayor Siddhartha Dhende said in Yerwada, where he represents the slum areas, there are nine jewellery shops.
He said that right now, the PMC is charging a service charge from slum dwellers staying in residences before the year 2000. “Instead of looking at number of years, the charge should be collected from each slum dweller as they all are using the basic facilities provided by the PMC,” he said.
Property tax department head, Suhas Mapari said, “Urban Development department is collecting service tax from slum dwellers that are staying from before the year 2000. The demand is to impose the tax for all the slum dwellers. This is a policy decision which should be taken by the standing committee and general body.”
Karne said that the basic service charge will not be more than ₹50 per month. As per Dhende’s estimates, at least ₹50 crore in revenue can be generated through this every year and these funds can be utilised for slum developments.
The PMC has clarified that accepting a service charge does not mean giving the nod for the owner to claim legal rights over a property.