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Home / Chandigarh / Chandigarh MC House revokes hike in water charges, admn to take final call

Chandigarh MC House revokes hike in water charges, admn to take final call

Resolution presses for continuation of the rates effective before September 11 when a hike of up to 200% was effected.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 30, 2020, 01:30 IST
Munieshwer A Sagar
Munieshwer A Sagar
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Members of the Chandigarh municipal corporation during the first meeting since the Covid-induced lockdown at the civic body’s office in Sector 17 on  Thursday.
Members of the Chandigarh municipal corporation during the first meeting since the Covid-induced lockdown at the civic body’s office in Sector 17 on Thursday.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

Pending approval of the UT administration, the municipal corporation on Thursday decided to rollback the increase in water charges notified in September.

The resolution passed in the General House meeting asked for continuation of the rates effective before the new rates, comprising a hike of up to 200%, were notified by the administration on September 11.

“We will send the House decision to the administration. But, till a new notification is issued by UT to this effect, the increased tariff notified in September will remain in force,” said MC commissioner KK Yadav.

Against an expenditure of around Rs 225 crore on city’s water management, the corporation earns only around Rs 70 crore. With the tariff increase, MC had expected to earn additional Rs 80 crore. “In my note with the House resolution, I will mention the losses incurred by MC in water management,” Yadav said.

Heated arguments exchanged

Tempers flared as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sparred over the water tariff hike. Both parties brought separate agendas on the matter.

While the Congress demanded cancellation of the tariff hike notification, the BJP sought a discussion on the issue, to be followed by a revised notification.

The House rejected Congress’ agenda, as the BJP councillors led by party’s state chief and councillor Arun Sood contended that it was illegal as the House didn’t have the power to cancel a notification issued by the UT administrator. This prompted heated arguments between the councillors of both parties. Congress’ Devinder Singh Babla and BJP’s Gurpreet Singh Dhillon even had a verbal spat, with one of the councillors heard saying, “Haath lagake toh dikha (I dare you to touch me)”.

It was only after BJP councillors intervened that the duo took their seats.

BJP targets MC officials

Following their recent public criticism of MC officials, BJP councillors targeted them at the House meeting as well.

On the issue of fines imposed by the enforcement department on vendors, the BJP councilors alleged that the department was selectively targeting small vendors, who were already struggling to make ends meet amid the pandemic, while larger commercial establishments were being allowed to go scot-free.

On the management of the gaushala in Industrial Area, councillors from the saffron fold accused the MC officials of willfully ignoring decisions taken by the House. “This shows, they don’t respect the House,” Sood said.

He said MC officials were even ignoring the corporation’s commitment made to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2019. “The civic body had committed that within 100 days of the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sector 38 West motor market road will be converted into a cemented road. But even as 2021 nears, they haven’t started the work.”

Congress demands mayor resignation

Leader of Opposition and Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla trained guns at mayor Raj Bala Malik over her alleged failure to deliver on any development agendas and demanded her resignation.

Even as most BJP councillors stood up in the mayor’s defence, she responded to the Congress demand, saying, “I will not resign. I was not elected by you (Congress). We are 20 and you only five.”

No garbage charges in villages for of now

The House also deferred the imposition of user charges on door-to-door garbage collection in 13 villages and markets. Councillors contended that the civic body had yet to completely and effectively collect garbage from these areas. The charges are mandated under the Solid Waste Management Bylaws 2018. MC was planning to impose charges varying from Rs 50 to Rs 100 for houses and Rs 200 to Rs 2,000 for commercial establishments.

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