The Tax Payers' Association, Vijayawada, has taken strong exception to the proposal to collect user charges by the Fire and Emergency Services Department for issuing ‘No Objection Certificate' to apartment-dwellers.

“In addition to authorising the fire services department to collect user charges, the Government has also thrust one per cent fire tax on property tax,” V. Sambi Reddy, president of the association, told a press conference on Monday.

Pointing out that the department personnel had issued notices to owners of multi-storied apartment buildings to make changes in their structures as per the new fire safety norms, Mr. Reddy said by ignoring the prime objective of public safety, the government had reduced the fire services department to a revenue-generating wing.

As per the new norms, the department was allowed to collect a sum of Rs. 10,000 for inspecting a building, 10 per cent of the fee for issue of structural stability certificate, Rs. 5,000 to conduct a mock drill and Rs. 10,000 for renovation inspection.

Asserting that the very objective of setting up fire services department was to ensure public safety from fire accidents, he said the Government must release adequate funds for its effective functioning. It was trying to shirk its responsibility and shifting it to the common man, who was already over-burdened due to its haphazard policies.

Keywords: Tax payers woes

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