User fee collection turns out to be a problem, yet again

Coimbatore Corporation has resumed waste collection at Ramnagar in the city. It was suspended for a while owing to resistance from residents to levying of user fee.   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

Coimbatore Corporation’s attempt to collect user fee from a few residents turned out to be a half-hearted attempt as it gave up after the latter protested.

The Corporation made the attempt around Deepavali in Ramnagar, where the sanitary inspector in-charge had asked apartments to pay ₹100 a flat a month for waste collection. The inspector, besides asking the apartments to pay in advance for the next two months, had also told them that in January 2021, they would have to pay for the whole year. And, the inspector had also stopped collecting waste from a few apartments in the area, sources said.

The sudden demand from the officer left the apartment residents scurrying for explanation. A Ramnagar resident said apartments wanted to know the nature of the fee that the Corporation demanded. For, if it was waste collection fee for bulk waste generators, no apartment in Ramnagar would fit into that category because none had more than 36 flats and crossed the 100 kg-a-day threshold limit for bulk waste generators.

Second, apartments paying the fee in advance gave rise to problems like tenants refusing to pay in advance and apartment associations contacting owners of unoccupied flats to pay.

Finally, when it turned out that the fee the sanitary inspector had demanded was waste collection user fee, the apartment residents continued their protest, because they wanted to know why only apartment residents and not those in houses had to pay and why only Ramnagar, said S. Natarajan, a Ramnagar resident and Swachh Bharat ambassador.

Senior officials in the Corporation said though the sanitary inspector had only demanded what was permitted in law, he had acted on his own.

There was no instruction from the commissioner to sanitary inspectors to resume collecting the user fee, which the Corporation had suspended a few years ago in the wake of stiff political protest.

The officials further said that the Corporation had suspended the fee collection, which the Corporation Council had approved, published in gazette and committed to collect after receiving funds for solid waste management from the Central Government under the JNNURM scheme.

They also said that this was not the first time that the Corporation had to give up user fee collection and thus far it had been unsuccessful in its collection.

In Ramnagar, when the Corporation went ahead by suspending waste collection from apartments, the residents took up the issue with senior Corporation officials and also complained to the Coimbatore South MLA Amman K. Arjunan.

With the result, the Corporation gave up demanding user fee collection, the officials added.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 6:27:53 AM |

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