Chennai corporation’s garbage tax move draws flak from residents – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: The city corporation’s announcement that a user fee for garbage collection would be levied from residential and commercial spaces from January 1 has come under sharp criticism from all quarters. Some termed it undemocratic, while others alleged it was a ploy to collect more property tax.
Residential buildings will have to shell out a fee ranging from ₹10 a month to ₹100 a month depending on the built-up area, while commercial establishments, schools and places of worship would be charged depending on the waste generated.
The charges will be calculated on a monthly basis but can be paid once in six months along with property tax. This fee, officials estimate, can earn the civic body ₹60 crore-₹70 crore a year.
Apart from user charges, the civic body will also collect penalties for littering in public, non-segregation of waste, burning of solid waste and littering in water bodies. The penalties would range from ₹100 to ₹5,000.
Most residents are incensed. V Rama Rao of Nanganallur said the decision to levy garbage tax, made when there is no elected council to represent public opinion, was undemocratic. The state government and the authorities concerned should consider public opinion and find a solution for scientific disposal rather than burdening the citizens further with taxes, Rama Rao said, and demanded that the proposal be kept in abeyance until an elected council was in place.
Some residents also wondered if this was an indirect way of collecting higher property tax. “It is not clear why the authorities will levy such amounts for garbage collection. The property tax we pay is for the civic amenities, which has been lacking for several years,” said V Sandhya, a lawyer and resident of Anna Nagar.
Political parties too joined the protest bandwagon. In a statement on Wednesday, DMK president M K Stalin condemned the ‘user fee’ decision and demanded that the government roll it back. “When [members of] the general public are still reeling under the pandemic, the ruling government’s announcement to levy user fee for garbage collection only shows their administration capabilities,” he said and cited the rise in electricity bills during the pandemic.