FRACTIONS WERE visible within the ruling BJP when its own councillors including Senior Deputy Mayor Kanwarjeet Singh Rana did not show any sign of approving the agenda on the reduction of garbage collection charges for the industries on Tuesday. The agenda was added in the House meeting following a representation of the Joint Forum of Chandigarh Industries to Mayor Anup Gupta, who is also a BJP councillor.
The existing garbage collection charges from small and cottage industry workshops spread up to 1 kanal area is Rs 1,000 per month. Godowns and cold storage units spread up to 1 kanal of area are monthly charged Rs 2,000.
In the agenda, it was recommended that the garbage collection charges of small and cottage industry workshops should be reduced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 150, and those of godowns and cold storage should be slashed from Rs 2,000 to Rs 300.
There are at least 3,457 small and cottage industry workshops and godowns in Chandigarh.
The most opposition over this agenda was raised by none other than Senior Deputy Mayor Kanwarjeet Singh Rana, who is also a BJP councillor.
“Industrialists have been earning crores of rupees annually. And they are pleading to wave off merely Rs 3,000 garbage charges. If these people will not pay the charges then who will pay the charges,” asked Rana.
He further asked if only the common man is responsible for paying taxes in Chandigarh. “Whoever proposed this agenda, I don’t agree with it and will never sign it. If the House wants to reduce the charges then reduce for the villagers, colony residents, poor people not for the industrialists,” Rana added, leaving many councillors stunned.
A handful of Aam Adami Party (AAP) councilors including Prem Lata and Damanpreet Singh also opposed this agenda.
According to sources, the agenda was included only for discussion following the representation of certain members of Joint Forum of Chandigarh Industries.
Interestingly, not a single BJP councilor raised his voice in support of reducing the garbage collection charges for industrialists.
Meanwhile, Municipal Corporation officials said that if garbage charges will be reduced for such industries, the civic body will face a loss of Rs 3.46 crore (3,46,35,600) annually. The civic body has been earning Rs 28.86 lakh (28,86,300) per month through garbage collection charges from industries.
When councilors were raising their voice against the agenda, MC Commissioner Anindita Mitra, apprised them that every civic body is to inform the central ministry about the income through the collection of garbage charges, and the amount which was spent on the cleanliness of the city. She informed the House that if the ratio of earning and spending deteriorated, it will affect the overall ranking of city in Swachh Survekshan (urban sanitation and cleanliness survey).
Opposition objects as newly appointed BJP chief seen the officials’ gallery
The councillors of opposition parties, including AAP and Congress raised objection over the presence of recently appointed Chandigarh BJP chief Jatinder Pal Malhotra, in the officers’ gallery during the House meeting. Later, the mayor clarified that an valid pass was issued to Malhotra, allowing him to visit the meeting. Gupta also assured that the presidents of all opposition parties will also invited to see the House meetings henceforth.