With eye on next NMC poll, ruling BJP dangles slew of sops to woo voters

NMC Polls
The Ruling Party in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), Bharatiya Janata Party, with an eye on the upcoming polls to the local body and retain the power as well, has started wooing the voters by dangling a slew of ‘lucrative’ sops such as writing off pending water dues in crores, waiver of Property Tax to Defence personnel honoured with gallantry medals, widows of ex-servicemen, jobs to unemployed youths in NMC on contract basis to oversee cement road related works etc. The ruling party is also adopting various other tactics aimed at gaining an edge in the elections.

Water dues to be written off:
In the two major decisions taken on Friday (June 10), the Standing Committee of NMC approved a proposal for launching an amnesty scheme for water bill defaulters in order to recover the pending amount of Rs 109 crore. As per the scheme, those defaulters interested to avail the benefits will have to pay 50 percent of half of the bill arrears between June 15 and June 30 and get time till July 31 for remitting the remaining amount. The scheme has been launched for over 50,000 consumers in various categories, in slums and those defaulters of over Rs 2000 water bill. The scheme will benefit slum-dwellers, residential consumers, Government colonies as well as educational institutions. If a consumer has a pending bill of Rs 100 with a penalty of Rs 20, the amount of penalty will be deducted from the original bill amount of Rs 100. It means the total amount of bill will be Rs 80. However, in view of difficulties being faced by consumers to pay the bills, only 50 percent of the total dues will be recovered which in effect means the consumers will have to pay Rs 40 to clear all the pending dues. Legal opinion has been taken by the NMC for viability of the scheme while providing relief to the consumers.

Property Tax of Gallant Defence personnel, widows to be waived off:
In another decision, NMC has announced 40 percent Property Tax of Defence personnel honoured with gallantry medals, ex-servicemen who have served Armed Forces at least for 15 years, servicemen who have been rendered disabled and 100 percent waiver to widows of ex-servicemen. Besides, the waiver will also apply to the next of kin of Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Maharashtra police personnel who sacrificed their lives while fighting with Naxals, rioters as well as in natural calamities. The eligible persons will have to submit the necessary certificates issued by District Sainik Welfare Board officers along with other documents for availing the Property Tax waiver benefit, the Chairman of Tax Committee Girish Deshmukh said.

However, BJP affiliated Ex-servicemen’s Aghadi claimed that neither they nor the District Sainik Welfare Board possess the data of servicemen-ex-servicemen families living in Nagpur. In this situation, how it will be possible for them to avail the benefit of property tax waiver. When Deshmukh was asked about those ex-servicemen who have already paid this year’s or next year’s Property Tax then how will they be benefited, he said a decision in this regard has so far not been taken. But intervening in the matter and also reprimanding Deshmukh for his improper reply, the Ruling Party Leader Dayashankar Tiwari said that the amounts will be adjusted in the next bills.

67 temporaray technical staff to be appointed for cement raods:
Around 70 kms of cement roads at the cost of Rs 324 crore are expected to be constructed in city. NMC has decided to appoint 67 technical staff for executing the cement road works. Expenditure on these appointments is likely to in the figure of Rs 1.55 crore. However, anticipating problems of various sorts in appointing the staff, VNIT has been given responsibility of selection of proper staff. Those selected by VNIT will be appointed by the NMC. These appointments will mainly be the unemployed youths on contract basis. However, the surprising aspect in this matter is: Has NMC no manpower of its own to execute the cement road works necessitating appointment of 67 technical staff.

BJP poaching ‘valued’ Corporators from other parties to increase kitty:
The Ruling Party, as a part of its poll strategy, has started ‘poaching’ Corporators of other parties by way of clearing their works (files) on priority basis and keep them in good mood. At the same time, those Corporators who are the targets of Ruling Party, their files are kept under abeyance in a tactic to bring them under Ruling Party’s ‘grip’.

With a slew of sops to a wide range of sections of voters and other tactics, the Ruling Party has focused their eyes on the winning prospects in the next NMC polls.

– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( rajeev.nagpurtoday@gmail.com )