Tiruchi Corporation cites salary revision, diesel price, and other operational costs

Traders have expressed strong resentment over the increase in service charge for solid waste collection and handling by the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation.

The Corporation Council, in February, approved the increase although it had effected a 40 per cent cut in the revised rates proposed by the civic administration. Accordingly, the service charge has been increased for commercial establishments such as hotels, hospitals, tea shops and roadside eateries and marriage halls in the city.

Star hotels would have to pay the maximum service charge of Rs. 60 a day instead of the existing annual fee of Rs. 3,600. Cinema halls, small workshops, and sticker shops (of less than 1,000 square feet in area) would attract the minimum at Rs. 4 a day.

All other establishments generating solid wastes in the city would be required to pay the service charge at the rates approved by the council. The corporation had justified the increase in view of the increase in the salary of sanitary workers, diesel price, and other operational costs involved in clearing solid wastes from the establishments.

Expressing concern over the increase, Ve. Govindarajalu, State treasurer, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu, said the corporation had increased the service charge by more than five or six times over the existing levy. Besides, several shops which were not charged the levy earlier such as fruits and grocery stores were now asked to pay the charge.

“For instance, a fruit stall is levied a service charge of Rs. 16 a day. This would work out to a huge amount for a small trader for a month. Such a steep increase threatens the very livelihood of hundreds of traders in the city,” said Mr. Govindarajalu.

Mr. Govindarajalu complained that traders were asked to pay the charge with retrospective effect from April 1, 2013.

Traders, he said, were reeling under a crisis as they had to pay various levies such as sales tax, professional tax, service tax, and property tax. The general price rise has affected the traders. In this situation, the corporation should either withdraw the increase or reconsider it to reduce the service charge and collect it only from April 2014, he said.