Staff Reporter

Disposal of solid waste to be privatised in five wards

DINDIGUL: Municipal councillors unanimously agreed to revise water tax for domestic connection from April and also accepted to privatise disposal of solid waste in five wards.

However, they wanted an open discussion before finalising water tax structure. The council has agreed to discuss the issue in detail during the next meeting.

These decisions were taken at the municipal council meeting presided over by the chairman R. Natarajan here on Wednesday.

"If we failed to revise water tax recommended by the municipality, the civic body will face severe financial crisis as it has to repay Rs.3 crore per annum towards the World Bank loan. Besides, it has to meet growing maintenance expenditure of drinking water schemes," officials cautioned.

The municipality had already recommended Rs.10 per 1,000 litres with a minimum charge of Rs.100 for domestic connection, Rs.15 per thousand litres for industrial use with a minimum monthly charge of Rs.200 per month and Rs.10 per thousand with Rs.200 minimum charge for commercial connections per month. Existing charges for these connections were Rs.5, Rs.10 and Rs.7.5 per thousand only. The deposit amount too has been revised to Rs.3,000 from Rs.2,000 for domestic connection, Rs.6,000 from Rs.5,000 for commercial connection and Rs.25,000 from Rs.5,000 for hospitals, lodges, industries, marriage halls, hotels and other special categories.

The Commissioner for Municipal Administration had granted permission to offer 10,000 new connections in the town as it has 17,500 connections only. But, house tax has been collected from 36,772 houses. (Municipal councillors irrespective of party lines protested against revision of water tax for domestic connections in the last council meeting.)

Despite protests from CPI(M) councillors, a majority of the members favoured privatising disposal of wastes and implementation of solid waste management by private companies in five wards housing the central bus stand, the wholesale flower market, a majority of hotels and lodges, owing to the shortage of scavenging staff. Now, the municipality has 422 workers against a requirement of 616. It could save Rs.29 lakh a year through the privatisation plan, said municipal officials.