Parking fee plan suspension - latest reversal in Coimbatore Corporation’s revenue mobilisation drive

More than a month after deciding to collect parking fee on 30 city roads, the Coimbatore Corporation on Monday suspended the plan.

At the November 30 Council meeting the Corporation had said it would collect parking fee at ₹ 30 or ₹ 40 an hour for four-wheelers and ₹ 10 an hour for two-wheelers parked on the earmarked stretches of the 30 roads and also proposed parking fee at select off-street parking places.

The reasons the Corporation cited in reversing the decision were that it had not consulted stakeholders – Coimbatore City Traffic Police, traders and a few others – and the parking fee proposal did not elicit from contractors the kind of response it had expected.

A few years ago, the Corporation had given up collecting user fee from city residents for the waste they generated. After the Central Government framed the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the Corporation set about collecting the user fee in 2017.

The Corporation had by then drafted the by-laws for collecting the fee saying it proposed to collect ₹ 10 to ₹ 30 from every household based on property tax slabs. It collected the user fee for a few months but gave up in the face of strong protest, mainly from political parties. It had proposed to collect ₹ 20 crore but managed only ₹ 1 crore.

After not collecting the user fee for around three years, the Corporation decided to resume collecting the user fee, in a decision it took at a recent Council meeting. It had estimated that it would net ₹ 13 crore a year from the move.

Sources said the Corporation then had only suspended the collection but not reversed the decision to collect user fee, as it had done now with the parking fee collection. And, the Corporation would not reverse the user fee collection decision as well because there was a strong legal backing to collect the fee, an obligation to do so and it was linked to the city’s Swachh Bharat ranking. The civic body also wanted to improve its revenue and meet at least a part of the waste collection expenditure by collecting the user fee, the sources also said.

In fact, the Corporation had begun the process of making modification in the Urban Tree Management System software to enable the user fee to be paid along with property tax. And, finally, as per the Supreme Court’s ‘polluter pays’ principle, it was incumbent on the city’s residents to pay for the waste they generated, the sources further said and reiterated that there was no going back on the decision.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 4:14:05 am |