PUNJAB LOCAL Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu announced the public audit of municipal corporations (MCs), uniform policy for all MCs and that notices would be served to all civic officers, who have not collected water, sewer and property taxes in the past four to five years on quarterly basis and now burdening people by sending huge pending bills when the Congress came to power. He said these officers would be held accountable.
Sidhu also stressed the implementation of the system of differential rate of taxation under which property tax would be rationalised on the basis of location and size of the property.
“They (SAD-BJP and corporations) have been trying to malign the Congress government by sending huge water and sewer bills while going out of power. But our government will first give the amenities to people and then find a way to make sure that there is no tax burden on them,” Sidhu told mediapersons in Jalandhar on Friday. “No undue taxes would be collected. We will find a way to collect these so that people do not feel burdened,” he emphasised.
“I have instructed my office to serve the notices to all those officers, who were supposed to collect water and sewer bills on time but did not so,” said Sidhu, adding that around 40 MLAs have brought to his notice that the civic bodies have sent bills of the last four years to the consumers, which were supposed to be sent on quarterly basis.
He further said that the present government would reward those doing good work and those who shirk their duty, would be made accountable. And, to bring transparency and accountability, a public audit system would be implemented regarding each and every civic project, assured Sidhu.
A project would include the issuance of notification regarding initiation of nay work, completion and other specifications like names of contractor, supervisory officer, project cost and tenure, etc. “MLAs will get powers of this audit, too,” said Sidhu.
Announcing to reach out to the common man with the motto of Captain government at your doorstep, Sidhu said it was decided by the Punjab government to formulate a uniform policy for all MCs pertaining to taxation, water supply, bills and daily services. He added that the demands and suggestions by the elected representatives would be given top priority in policy formation.
Claiming that the procedure of issuing birth and death certificates by municipal corporations smacked of corruption and malpractice, Sidhu said all these services would be provided via e-governance.
Replying to a question about solid waste management projects, Sidhu said a six-member committee has been formed, comprising principal secretary, local bodies, urban development secretary, rural development secretary, municipal corporation commissioner and a technical expert. The committee would submit its report in three months. “Land is being identified first for putting up big solid waste projects,” informed Sidhu.
Earlier, he asked all the MLAs of Jalandhar to speak for two minutes each to make a list of demands of their areas.
Prominent among those present on the occasion were MLAs Pargat Singh, Rajinder Beri, Raj Kumar Verka, Rakesh Pandey, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Sushil Kumar Rinku, Chaudhary Surinder Singh and Avtar Singh Henry (Junior).