As garbage cess arrears pile up, hefty water bills dumped on UT residents, some up to Rs 7,000 - thebestdealindia

As garbage cess arrears pile up, hefty water bills dumped on UT residents, some up to Rs 7,000


Residents from at least 2,500 households in Chandigarh were shocked when they were sent hefty water bills, with additional amounts and bills. According to the bills, what used to be a few hundreds rupees has now shot up to thousands. When asked, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, however, said that in some areas, garbage cess was not being collected which accumulated over time and now the arrears are being recovered.

In some areas like Mani Majra, the water charges listed was Rs 940 to Rs 1,490, while under ‘sundry charges’, residents are being asked to pay Rs 2,205. In some cases, the amount is ridiculously high, up to Rs 7,000. Some residents also alleged that they received bills over Rs 10,000.

MC Commissioner Anindita Mitra told The Indian Express, “Last month, I detected that the MC has not started collecting garbage cess from several areas of the city despite providing garbage collection facilities. Accordingly, the CSI was also chargesheeted and the health supervisor was also issued a showcause notice”.

Commissioner Mitra said that they will introduce an agenda in the House to get the arrears recovered in installments, so that there is no additional burden on the residents.

She added, “The arrears were calculated and sent along with water bills. In order to avoid residents being burdened, an agenda is being put up before the House for collection of these arrears in four installments”.

The General House meeting is scheduled to be held on November 29.

Rs 2,205 sundry charges in many cases

The bill issued to a resident, Tejinder Sodhi, is of Rs 4,812. The break up includes water of Rs 1,490, sewerage cess amount of Rs 447, garbage cess of Rs 630 and a under sundry charges, an amount of Rs 2,205. The resident has to pay this along with certain maintenance charges.

Another resident, Karnail Singh, has received a bill of Rs 6,231. Of total bill, his water charges amount to Rs 4,020, sewerage cess Rs 1,206 and sundry charges Rs 735.

Sunita Pramod has been issued a bill of Rs 4,117, where her water charges include Rs 940 but sundry charges again amount to Rs 2,205, garbage Rs 630 and sewerage cess Rs 282 along with other maintenance charges.

A resident of Pipliwala town in Mani Majra, Kishori Lal, received a bill of Rs 3,948, including sundry charges of Rs 2,205, main water charges of Rs 810, garbage charges of Rs 630 and other maintenance charges and sewerage cess.

Commissioner Mitra said that bills with these charges have been raised for about 2,500 households as of now while ones for many others are yet to be raised. “Circle 2 and 3 bills have been raised now which include areas like Shantinagar, Moriwala and Pipliwala. The total bill of nine months have been sent which includes seven months arrears from January to July plus new bill of August and September,” the commissioner said.

She added that circle 1, which is Darshini Bagh and a few households of circle 4, which is old Mani Majra, are still left and their bill will be sent in the next month.

Residents gherao mayor’s residence

Many residents, especially ones from Mani Majra, agitating against the hefty bills they have received, on Sunday gheraoed the residence of Chandigarh Mayor Sarabjit Kaur. They also raised anti-BJP slogans to protest against the unreasonably heavy water bills issued to them this month.

Heavy police force had to be deployed due to the presence of many residents around the mayor’s residence.

The protesters also included some Congress workers. They said, “The mayor was forced to come out and meet the agitated protesters, who relented only on the assurance that the people of Mani Majra need not pay the garbage collection charges with the current bill and the issue of water bills would be sorted out during the House meeting on November 29”.

The Mani Majra residents had earlier protested two days ago by blocking roads, which was lifted after being assured that the bills would be reduced within a day or so. However, nothing was done thereafter, which agitated the residents who intensified the protest. The protesters also invited the mayor to the streets of Mani Majra to see for herself the deplorable condition of sanitation there, for which the residents being forced to pay garbage collection charges.

In the meantime, Pawan Kumar Bansal, treasurer of the All India Congress Committee, in a statement issued here, expressed solidarity with the residents of Mani Majra “in their fight against the highhandedness of the BJP-led Chandigarh Municipal Corporation” and urged the concerned authorities to defer the payment of the bills till the matter is sorted out on November 29.

HS Lucky, president of the Chandigarh Congress, also assured the Congress party’s support to the people of Mani Majra and has asked the municipal authorities to reduce the bills. He said that otherwise, the Chandigarh Congress will be forced to intensify the agitation further.

Mayor Sarabjit Kaur, while speaking to The Indian Express, said, “During elections, there was an employee and an official who did not calculate and send the garbage cess to the residents because of which these kept getting accumulated. I will try and get these charges waived off in the House so that people may not be burdened. Even otherwise, it is a mistake on part of the officials and not the people. So, these charges are bound to be waived off”.





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