Rejecting the civic administration's proposal of a hike in general tax, the standing committee of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Tuesday permitted a 10 per cent hike in the industrial, business and storage licence fees.
Speaking to reporters here, Dnyaneshwar Bhalerao, chairman, standing committee, said that the committee had approved a resolution to keep the rates of general and other taxes unchanged.
Explaining the reason for rejecting the tax hike, Bhalerao said, "The civic administration had proposed a hike of around 21 per cent in the general tax and charging new taxes like a road tax. There is a general demand that taxes should not be hiked."
He stated that the PCMC has already hiked the water charges. While some people have received exorbitant water bills, others have received inaccurate bills as a result of which corporators were facing the heat. "The 21 per cent hike proposed by the administration is unjust and will put an additional burden on the public, which is already reeling under the impact of rising inflation.
Hence, we have taken the decision not to hike taxes or impose new taxes on the public," he explained. Last week Bhalerao had suggested the civic administration hold an all-party meeting to discuss the tax hike proposal but no meeting has taken place.
"The administration wanted the standing committee to approve the hike before presentation of the annual civic budget. We have rejected the hike in taxes and the general body will take a final decision," said Bhalerao.
Speaking about the hike in various licence fees, Bhalerao said, "The civic administration had proposed that the charges of various licence fees be doubled. Mustafa Phadnis, assistant commissioner, justified the proposed hike in fees, stating that the charges had not been revised since 1995. We have approved only a 10 per cent hike in taxes as they have to compete with industries from outside the municipal limits."
The proposal to allot a direct contract to construct 672 tenements for a slum rehabilitation project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme at an expenditure of Rs 25.37 crore was approved at the meeting. Prashant Shitole, NCP corporator and member of the standing committee said that the members were satisfied with the answers to their queries.
Bhalerao said that discussions were held on the proposal to hire 30 lifeguards for seven municipal swimming pools for the summer season from March to June 2010. The standing committee approved Shitole's suggestion about increasing honorarium of the life guards from Rs 4000 per month to Rs 7,000, as they did an important job.
Bhalerao added that since no senior officials were present at the meeting to answer the queries of the members, they had take a decision to adjourn the meeting till February 5.