Decision to levy user charges on garbage collection draws flak

The decision to levy user charges for garbage collection by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) council has been drawing flak from citizens, Opposition parties and various residential associations. The Opposition parties criticised the civic body for taking the decision during the pandemic.

To implement solid waste management rules 2016, the GVMC officials have proposed for imposition of user charges as agenda No 100 during the recently held council meet. Though the Opposition parties, including the TDP, Left parties and the Jana Sena Party, opposed the proposal, the Mayor conducted the voting. As over 60 votes received in favour of the proposal, the Mayor passed it.

According to the agenda, households need to pay ₹120 per month by seventh of every month as the user charges. Late fee of ₹15 would be levied if they fail to pay the charges. Similarly, restaurants and hotels need to pay ₹500 to ₹1,500 depending on the size. Bar and restaurants will be charged about ₹3,000, fast foods, roadside eateries/mess/juice shops will be charged ₹300. Function halls will be charged from ₹4,000 to ₹15,000 per month based on the size.

GVMC Additional Commissioner V. Sanyasi Rao said that though the proposal was passed in the council, a signed order needs to be given by the Mayor. The State government is preparing a mobile application to monitor the garbage collection. The G.O is likely to be implemented from the next month, he said.

According to a senior official, there are around seven lakh households, including apartments, in the GVMC limits. “Per month, through the user charges, the GVMC may generate around ₹15 crore,” he added on condition of anonymity.

“The GVMC should understand that there are many families in suburban areas who are paying ₹500 to ₹1,000 as rents. Since more than one year, a lot of families, especially those who depend on daily wage works, are financially hit and are living by borrowing money. In this situation, how can the corporation seek ₹120 per month just to collect wastes. Is it really necessary when people are panicking about the COVID third wave?” said TDP floor leader in the GVMC, Peela Srinivasa Rao.

CPI(M) leader and Corporator of Ward no. 78, B. Ganga Rao, said that the decision will impose burden on people. Even street vendors have to pay some amount, he said.

He alleged that the government was trying to make money from the people by levying such charges to repay the loans that it had taken for various welfare schemes.

Andhra Pradesh Federation of Resident Welfare Association vice-president K.S.R. Murthy said that already apartments have been paying ₹50, while about ₹20 to ₹30 is being collected from small houses. Now charging about ₹120 is expensive, he said.

Visakha Apartment Residents Welfare Association secretary B.B. Ganesh also condemned the move and expressed fear that charges may soon be levied on other civic amenities.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 3:13:16 am |