MC debate: To be or not to be a smart city

The UT civic body’s revenue generation process has been stagnant for the last several years.

Written by Vivek Gupta | Chandigarh | Published:July 19, 2015 2:20 am
Chandigarh municipal corporation, smart city, chandigarh smart city, PM Narendra Modi, Urban Development,, chandigarh news, city news, local news, Chandigarh newsline, Indian Express One of the criteria for selection requires self-reliance of civic bodies for revenue generation.

A meeting of the General House of Municipal Corporation (MC), scheduled for July 22, is likely to be a stormy affair as one of the agenda items seeking resolution of the house in declaring its intent for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious smart city mission will come up for discussion.

As per the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Urban Development, the urban local bodies have to pass a resolution declaring their intent for smart city before applying for the selection process.

One of the criteria for selection requires self-reliance of civic bodies for revenue generation. However, the UT civic body’s revenue generation process has been stagnant for the last several years due to low user charges and non-collection of house tax.

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Recently, Adviser to Administrator Vijay Kumar Dev directed the MC to impose house tax and increase water tariff to ensure selection in phase 1 of the smart city mission. According to sources, these issues are likely to come up for discussion in the house meet.

Talking to Newsline, Mayor Poonam Sharma said the issues had not been taken up with her.

“If these issues are brought up during the house meet, I will deliberate on them,” she said.

Meanwhile, Congress councillor and former Mayor Subhash Chawla made the party’s position almost clear by saying that the agenda circulated on Saturday did not mention the broad selection guidelines “but we will never be in favour if getting smart city status means introducing new taxes in the city.”

Arun Sood, BJP’s group leader in the house, said the party would welcome the resolution on smart city. “If the Congress will oppose it, it means they they are playing dirty politics, which is not in the interest of the city,” he said.

Meanwhile, another agenda item regarding the release of Rs 98 crore from MC’s fixed deposits for laying down an additional pipe line for 40 MGD water from Kajuli water works will come up for hearing. It is likely to be passed as the mayor has given her approval for the release of the amount to Punjab government. As assured by the adviser, the said amount will be returned to the MC once it is released by the central government.

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