The Andhra Pradesh Urban Citizens’ Forum (APUCF) has expressed concern that the State government was laying a burden of Rs. 500 crore on the people under the garb of user charges on garbage collection.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the APUCF convener and Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) State committee member Ch. Babu Rao said that the State government launched Clean AP (CLAP) as part of Jagananna Swachh Sankalpam on October 2, 2021, which had turned out to be a money-spinner. “The government or local bodies cannot levy the user charges on garbage unless objections are received from the people. The APUCF and a few other organisations have filed petitions in the court of law in this regard. While the matter is still pending in the court, the government cannot go ahead and levy the user charges,” he said.
The State government was enthusiastically implementing the anti-people policies like user charges on garbage collection as directed by the Central government. Except for the corporate sector and the ruling YSRCP leaders, the moves to privatise the sanitation management would not be beneficial to the people. Without the knowledge and consent of the elected bodies in municipalities and corporations, the government was purchasing garbage collection vehicles unilaterally. As per the agreements, the local bodies would have to pay Rs. 63,000 per month to each vehicle. These agreements, which were not done in a transparent manner, would help the corporate companies in the future. The government would end up paying Rs. 600 crore per annum to the companies, he said.
The user charges on garbage collection were unconstitutional as sanitation was already a component of property tax. Sanitation and public heath were constitutional obligations of the government and local bodies. Unfortunately, the government was shirking its duties, he said.