BJP calls hike illegal All resolutions passed in the din

The general body meeting of the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) ended within 45 minutes as the ruling Congress and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors sparred over the hike in trade licence fee, here on Friday.

Raising the issue, M.R. Pai, Leader of the Opposition, said that the increase in the trade licence fee was illegal. He had brought this matter to the notice of the CMC in the last meeting. No trade licence fee could be extended over Rs. 500 as per the Karnataka Municipalities Act. “Then how was it increased? Since the increase was notified in the gazette, the CMC had no powers to revise it. It is strange that the local MLA did not know about the hike as he would get a copy of gazette,” he said.

P. Yuvaraj, CMC president, said that the trade licence fee had been increased when the Deputy Commissioner was the administrator of the CMC. It was not done by the Congress after it came to power in the CMC. “The matter has been included in the supplementary agenda. We can discuss it later than during the Question Hour,” he said.

This led to heated exchanges between the Treasury bench and the Opposition bench, which insisted that the matter should be discussed first. But the Congress members wanted the issue to be discussed as per the agenda.

The BJP councillors displayed banners against the hike in the trade licence fee in the House. This infuriated the Congress councillors, who said that the BJP was interested in publicity and not discussing the issue. The BJP councillors said that they had every right to raise the matter during the Question Hour.

Intervening, Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA, said that the Congress had promised not to increase any taxes or fees in its election manifesto. “Hence, there will be no increase in any taxes or fees in the CMC,” he said.

As the din continued, Mr. Yuvaraj directed the CMC Commissioner Srikanth Rao to start reading resolutions in the agenda. The BJP councillors took exception to this and said that agenda could be taken up only after the 60 minutes of Question Hour.

Mr. Yuvaraj said that there was no alternative left as the Opposition councillors were unrelenting. The BJP councillors then asked Mr. Rao as to how he could read the agenda, the latter said that he was following the directions of Mr. Yuvaraj. All the resolutions were passed in the din.

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