Nagpur: Mayor Nanda Jichkar on Tuesday chaired the general body meeting of Nagpur Municipal Corporation that saw many important decisions being hammered out amid heated exchange of words between the ruling as well as opposition members.The issues of tax defaulters and paid parking dominated the proceedings and generated heat as well.
Ruling-Oppn members clash over issue of tax defaulters:
The main sources of NMC’s revenue are Property Tax and Water Tax. However, the gap between the number of regular tax payers and the number of defaulters is negligible. The defaulters are fined (cess) every month. Two percent cess is levied on Property Tax defaulters every month which comes to 24 percent penalty per year. Raking up the issue, Congress member Praful Gudadhe Patil demanded the Mayor that the House pass a public interest resolution to ensure that defaulters are freed of penalties (cess) once for all. For this, voting could also be taken in the House.
The Chairman of Tax Committee Avinash Thakre countered the Opposition argument. On one hand the Opposition is criticising the budget of the cash-starved NMC presented by Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Jadhav and other hand putting hurdles on recovery of pending dues from defaulters. Citizens come forward to pay taxes to avoid penalties. The number of tax payers has increased as compared to previous years.
The Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi stated that there is no question of stopping levying of penalties (cess). The NMC and Standing Committee had launched amnesty schemes for providing relief to defaulters of property tax and water tax. The scheme is again being launched next month to give one more chance to the tax defaulters. Former Mayor Pravin Datke informed the House that a resolution to end penalties (cess) totally was passed and sent to the State Government. The final decision is pending with the government.
Illegal parking recovery:
Congress member Sandeep Sahare said that the ‘business’ of paid parking at commercial hubs and malls is thriving since years. This is going on at a time when sanctioning of commercial buildings slots for parking are also sanctioned. But the building owners, instead of providing free parking, are mopping up moolah through paid parking. The NMC is left with no gain at all. Hence the civic body should recover commercial tax from parking slot runners on the lines of malls and commercial complexes.
BJP’s Pravin Datke charged that the complex owners are utilising basic amenities commercially. The NMC administration should either curb recovery of parking charges by commercial complexes or levy commercial tax on them. Similarly, the paid parking at government, semi-government, schools, colleges and other such places should be stopped. Balya Borkar demanded action against paid parking at N Kumar’s Wardhaman Nagar-based Inox Mall.
Illegal sonography and physiotherapy centre:
BJP Corporator Adv Dharmapal Meshram drew the attention of the House on Dr Bhavatkar’s Sonography and Physiotherapy Centre being run illegally from a residential flat situated between Indora Square and Kamal Chowk since the past four years. While Ward Officer Vijay Humne turned a blind eye every now and then, the Deputy Director of Town Planning Department Supriya Thool had ordered to close down the illegal sonography and physiotherapy centre. Taking the matter seriously, the Mayor ordered the administration to close the centre today itself. The Municipal Commissioner should probe the matter himself and take action against the guilty officials, the Mayor said.
‘Nuisance Detection Squad’ to be formed:
A ‘Nuisance Detection Squad’ is being set up to ensure cleanliness of roads, nallahs, rivers, wells, and other sources on experiment basis. Sandeep Joshi said that many members differ on the issue. Hence an ex-serviceman for every ward (151 security guards), supervisor in every zone and an officer of Executive Engineer level should be deployed at NMC Headquarters. A serious thought should also be given for use of existing technology in the scheme. The financial matter should be left with the Standing Committee. The Committee could limit the scheme for one year only at present. Thereafter, after reviewing the entire scheme it could be extended further. All the security guards should be transferred after every six months. The Mayor approved the scheme and also stressed for an app and redressal of complaints by administration immediately.
Demolition of Ganesh Tekdi Flyover:
Former Mayor Pravin Datke hesitatingly raised the issue of demolition of Ganesh Tekdi Flyover. Countering the proposal, Congress member Praful Gudadhe Patil questioned the undue haste being shown by administration in demolishing the flyover. First the rehabilitation of shopkeepers beneath the flyover should be given a thought. Datke said that the NMC administration should consult experts in the field. The final feasibility report should be prepared and then a proposal be tabled in the House.
City Bus Service:
Congress Corporator Praful Gudadhe Patil raised the issue of flash strike resorted to by Aapli Bus conductors and drivers on March 29, 2017. The strike created enormous problems for commuters. The member sought to know what action was initiated against those responsible for the strike and also harassment of commuters. The Mayor, on the suggestion of Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi, directed the administration to fix the responsibility and also recover Rs 11-12 lakh loss the NMC suffered from the guilty. The Mayor also directed the NMC administration to look into the issue of minimum wages to be paid to bus drivers, conductors in accordance with the government rules.
Promotions bypassing rules:
Another Congress Corporator Sandeep Sahare tried to corner the NMC administration by raising the issue of promotion accorded to the present NMC Secretary Harish Dubey bypassing the rules twice. The Mayor Nanda Jichkar directed the Municipal Commissioner to investigate the matter and submit the report in the next general body meeting. However, the rattled Dubey got support from some of the members including Sunil Agrawal, Deepak Chaudhari, Abha Pande, Tanaji Vanve and others.