Chandigarh MC House passes resolution for rolling back water tariff hike
The municipal corporation (MC) general House on Monday once again passed a resolution seeking the cancellation of the UT administration notification passed in September 2020, under which water tariff had been hiked by 200%.
The civic body also sought that payments made over the last ten months be adjusted in the future bills of residents and reduction in sewage cess. Congress councillor and city Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Arun Sood, said, “After the September resolution is cancelled and the pandemic ends, a fresh look will be taken at the water tariff.”
Notably, the administration had issued an order on May 25, deferring the implementation of the September notification till March 31, 2022. But, the order was prospective in nature ie the stay on the hiked bills was only for the next six months, and not for the previous ten months for which residents have already paid. The administration had also stated that there will be no adjustment.
However, municipal commissioner KK Yadav had opposed the MC’s resolution on rollback of the hiked tariffs, citing major losses to the financially-struggling civic body. The MC is likely to suffer a loss of at least ₹68 crore in the wake of the deferment.
House calls for 25% slash in sewage cess
The House has also sought immediate reduction in sewage cess from the current 30% to 5%. The cess is imposed on the water bill charges and it was hiked in 2018. The cess came under severe criticism after the water tariff hike after which residents had to pay nearly double.
The MC house also decided to constitute a committee to suggest relief measures like reduction in property tax in the wake of hardships caused due to the pandemic.
Garbage collection charges revised
The MC General House revised the monthly garbage collection charges, reducing them in most categories.
It also changed the measurement unit for calculation of user charges in urban residential properties from square metre to marla/kanal. The charges are ₹50 for less than 2 marla, ₹100 for 2-10 marla, ₹200 for 10 marla-1 kanal, ₹250 for 1-2 kanal and ₹350 for above 2 kanal.
Street vendors have to pay ₹50 and traders have to pay between ₹200 and ₹800. Depending upon the seating capacity, restaurants and hotels have to pay ₹2,000- ₹5,000. The rate for community centres and marriage palaces is ₹1,000 per event.
In rural areas, rates for houses range between ₹50 and ₹200, while shops have to pay ₹100 and eateries ₹200.
New tenders to be invited for sanitation of southern sectors
It was also decided that fresh tenders will be invited for the cleaning of southern sectors.
Currently, Delhi-based Lions Services Limited has been carrying out mechanised sweeping in southern sectors at a cost of ₹5 crore per month. The project had been outsourced to the firm in 2016 for five years.
MC had tabled the agenda for extension of the current contract, but the House decided to call fresh tenders, for which the same contractor can apply again.
Notably, the MC had constituted a committee under its chief engineer, to examine whether to continue with existing company or call allot a fresh contract. The committee, in its meeting on May 13, unanimously resolved that the contract period of the Lion Service Limited should not be extended and the contract be allotted afresh.
Plans for garbage processing plant’s upgrade in limbo
The House failed to take a final decision on the technology to be adopted to upgrade the garbage processing plant in Dadumajra. It was decided that councillors will now visit sites of waste processing plants where different technologies are being used.