Visakhapatnam

Ruckus at GVMC meet over property tax hike proposal

An activist of the CPI(M) being arrested by the police during the protest near the GVMC office in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The second council meet of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) was a stormy affair with corporators staging protests, raising slogans, and staging walkouts against key issues like property tax hike and levying user charges for garbage collection. Amid stiff resistance from the Opposition parties, proposal to levy user charges for garbage collection was passed by the council through voting.

Right from the beginning of the council meet, corporators from the Telugu Desam Party(TDP), Left parties and the Jana Sena Party demanded that the council conduct a discussion on the proposed property tax hike. They reached the Mayor’s podium with placards demanding immediate withdrawal of the proposal. The TDP corporators entered into a heated argument with the YSR Congress Party corporators and demanded a debate.

As the situation went out of control, Mayor G. Hari Venkata Kumari left the council hall and walked away to her chamber. Later, the floor leaders of various political parties were called into the Mayor’s chamber to discuss the issue. The Mayor was finally able to convince the floor leaders of various parties and agreed to conduct a discussion on the issue.

In the discussion, TDP corporators Peela Srinivasa Rao and CPI (M) corporator B. Ganga Rao questioned the Mayor on how the GVMC release a draft notification without consulting the newly-elected council members. They also said that they were surprised to see that the issue was not on the agenda of the council meeting.

TDP corporator K. Govind Reddy said that levying property tax based on market value will increase burden on middlemen. He said that there are chances of increase in tax every time when the market value of the property increases.

BJP MLC P.V.N. Madhav said that coming up with such a decision during the pandemic is not at all correct.

Mr. Ganga Rao said that with the proposed new property tax fixation, the annual property tax of a 300 sq. feet house will be around ₹15,000. He alleged that the new system will increase tax by three to five times.

Heated arguments also took place when there was discussion on imposing user charges for garbage collection. The Opposition party members demanded withdrawal of the proposal. Some corporators alleged that the door-to-door garbage collection is not proper at some areas. As more than 60 votes were received in favour of the proposal, the Mayor announced that it was approved. Irked by it, the TDP corporators walked out of the meet.

Out of 140 points in the agenda, 138 points were passed by the council.

Condolences

The council meet started with the council members and the GVMC officials paying tributes to former Mayor and senior TDP leader Sabbam Hari,and TDP corporator Vanapalli Ravi Kumar, who lost their lives due to the COVID-19.

A number of corporators arrived late to the council meet.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 7:34:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/ruckus-at-gvmc-meet-over-property-tax-hike-proposal/article34936029.ece

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