Traders in parts of Thane, Mumbra and Kalva on Thursday claimed garbage collection vehicles of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) dumped waste on the doorsteps of their shops. Civic officials denied this, saying they stopped collecting garbage from Thursday in a bid to recover the solid waste management (SWM) tax dues.
“The civic body dumped a large amount of household food and garbage consisting of veg and non-veg food outside shops all over the city and abused and threatened us,” wrote the Thane Vyaparudyog Mahasangh, a traders body, in a letter to municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal. The letter said it had become a very serious issue. “We want the civic chief to take stern action against the officers involved in it or we would be forced to take steps. The administration shall be responsible for the consequences,” it added. Some of the traders have also lodged a complaint with the Naupada police station.
Officials from the civic body said the action was being taken as the shopkeepers had not paid the SWM tax dues. “Last year, the general body of the TMC had given approval to levy the SWM tax on the commercial establishments for collecting the garbage. We are just following it. Despite several notices and reminders, they have not paid up the dues,” said Sunil Chavan, additional municipal commissioner.
Chavan dismissed the allegation that garbage was thrown on the doorsteps of commercial establishments. “We have stopped the picking up of garbage from today. Since we are in the second half of March, we hope they pay up the SWM tax dues soon. If they have issues with tax rates, then it can be sorted out. But, their approach of not paying the taxes is not right. We are just using the Gandhian way — pay up taxes or we will not collect garbage,” explained Chavan.
Another senior official justified the action. “It will take years to resolve the issue in court. We have to provide services and hence require funds,” he said.