Congress councillors raising their demands through placards during the MC General House meeting at the MC office in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday.(HT Photo)
Congress councillors raising their demands through placards during the MC General House meeting at the MC office in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday.(HT Photo)

Chandigarh MC extends licence fee waiver, parking contractors to continue

Relents in the face of threats from the contractors to withdraw their services amid mounting losses due to the pandemic
By Munieshwer A Sagar | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON NOV 28, 2020 12:54 AM IST

With the municipal corporation extending partial waiver of licence fee owed by parking contractors for three more months, they will continue to manage the parking lots in the city.

Expressing their inability to clear dues piling up since September, the contractors had threatened to withdraw their services if MC didn’t give them relief. There are two paid parking contractors that manage 89 parking lots in the city.

Succumbing to the contractors’ threat, at its General House meeting on Friday, the civic body decided to allow partial waiver of licence fee – ranging from 45% to 65% - for September, October and November. Thereon, MC will charge the full fee from December.

“In case they decide to withdraw their services hereon, the exemption allowed would stand cancelled,” said MC commissioner KK Yadav.

Vikas Pandey, manager, Pashchatya Entertainment Pvt Ltd, parking contractor for Zone 2, said, “With the MC relief in place, we will continue with the parking contract. But, we are awaiting a formal communication in the matter.”

Relaxations in the past

In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, MC had already given a complete licence fee waiver for April and May. Thereafter, contractors were allowed to deposit 35% to 45% of the licence fee for June 1 to August 31.

Notably, in the last General House meeting, the members had decided not to give any more relaxations from September. They had contended that financial activity in the city had picked up, since markets and offices had been allowed to open.

Contractors yet to offer smart facilities

Even though the House on October 29 had directed the contractors to introduce smart features within 30 days, the contractors haven’t provided these yet.

The hiked parking charges are contingent upon contractors offering smart features.

Pandey said, “Certain features can only be offered through the use of Chinese products, which we want to avoid. But, we are trying to start these as soon as possible.”

After the new rates kick in, parking fee for the first four hours will remain the same as the flat rates charged right now: Rs 5 for two-wheelers and Rs 10 for four-wheelers.

Thereafter, these will be doubled. The charges will further be doubled if vehicles are kept parked beyond 12 hours. However, there will be free entry for pick and drop in the first 10 minutes.

Illegal water connections at villages, colonies to be regularised

The MC House also approved the regularisation of illegal water connections in all colonies and villages, including 13 villages transferred to the civic body.

The consumer will have to deposit one-time charges within 90 days. A rebate of 10% will be allowed if deposited within this period, failing which a penalty of 15% will be charged up to the date of regularisation.

The rate of regularisation for domestic connections ranges between Rs 50 and Rs 200 per month and for non-domestic connections, from Rs 400 to Rs 800 per month.

For the water connections outside the village lal dora, the mayor was authorised by the House to constitute a committee to examine the issue and give recommendations thereon.

When the House was taking up the issue of allowing water connections outside the lal dora, the Congress councillors rushed to the well of the House with placards. They demanded that the use of smart watches be stopped, water tariff be reduced and outsourced employees be regularised.

Rehab colonies: MC mulls regularisation of building violations

MC decided against issuing any notices for existing building violations at rehabilitation colonies, and to constitute a committee to prepare a one-time regularisation policy for large-scale violations.

Various rehabilitation colonies in Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, and Sectors 52 and 53 house around 4,300 allottees, who stand to gain from MC’s decision.

The corporation also decided that any new violations hereafter will invite action. MC commissioner KK Yadav directed the officials concerned to rein in any new violations at these colonies.

As per the MC General House resolution, the mayor has been authorised to constitute a committee, comprising a councillor and MC officials, which will examine all cases of the violations of the buildings bylaws, and terms and conditions. It will then recommend a one-time policy, including rates therein for regularising these violations.

In violation of allotment terms, 90% of the licencees have sold out the transit sites on general power of attorney. There are also rampant violations of the building bylaws in the shape of construction of unauthorised cantilevers, toilets, additional storeys and rooms.

Under “Licensing of Tenements and Sites and Services in Chandigarh” rehabilitation scheme, transit sites in Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, and Sectors 52 and 53 were allotted in 1998 by the UT estate office to residents of various slums.

In 1995, the work of rehabilitation of colonies was transferred to MC.

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