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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Hefty waste collection charges burn a hole in pockets of Chandigarh residents

These bills have been issued by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as it took over the waste collection system from the independent waste collectors of the city.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
July 31, 2021 8:06:07 am
The BMC has also made bulk waste generators compulsory for establishments and housing complexes generating over 100 kg of waste daily or having an area of more than 20,000 sq m. (File)

The hefty charges for waste collection, issued with the water bills, in Chandigarh are burning a hole in the pockets of the city residents. Those who would earlier pay just Rs 150 to Rs 200 per month for waste collection were in for a shock as they were served the water bills with waste collection charges of Rs 3,000 or more.

These bills have been issued by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as it took over the waste collection system from the independent waste collectors of the city.

Vandana Batra, a resident of Sector 21 in Chandigarh, received a bill of Rs 3,300 as waste collection charges. “We asked the Municipal Corporation regarding this and then paid the amount after they said that it won’t happen from the next cycle. It is really a hefty charge,” she said.

RK Garg, a resident of Sector 27 in Chandigarh received a bill of Rs 3,600 for the waste collected from his house. “No notification has been issued regarding these bills. Moreover, late payment charges are also illegal as even in solid waste management bylaws, LPC can only be charged after one month of the bill being issued. Even otherwise two type of charges cannot be collected through a single bill. Till date, residents do not know the actual rates for garbage collection and there are many issues like house locked for many months, only one occupant living in the entire house or one floor vacant or offices at residence,” Garg said.

A resident of Sector 27, Baljinder Singh received waste collection charges of Rs 3,300 while Pritam Singh, a resident of house no. 3174 in the same sector, also received a bill of Rs 3,600.

The worst shocker was for a resident who received a bill of Rs 5,700 for garbage collection.

Jagdeep Walia, another city resident, said, “Streamlining of the work and proper preparation of the bills need to be ensured so that the residents are not made to suffer.”

After the issuance of a public notice by MOH, the aggrieved residents are submitting applications for correction in rate of user fees charged and number of DUs levied directly at the MOH office, through emails or jurisdictional sanitary inspectors.

The residents are suggesting that now, the MC should extend the last date for payment of bills or allow partial/nominal payment of the bills. It was also requested that no late payment of bill penal charges be levied for the cycle of bills during which the residents received inflated charges.

However, the Municipal Corporation had said that of the total 200 complaints, 150 of them had their second houses in the UT and said that they visit the city only for a few days and dump the waste only on one day.

Meanwhile, the Medical officer of Health had informed that all plaints had been resolved of which there were only 50 of them where the amount was reduced owing to the present status of no paying guest or tenant staying.

He had said that residents are feeling the pinch of the charges more because it is per kitchen and cumulative.

He had also cited an example that if there are three kitchens in the house—one of the owner, another of the owner’s brother and one of the tenant, and the charges for per kitchen is Rs 300, the cumulative charge for three months wull be Rs 2,700.

There are 2.50 lakh kitchens in Chandigarh, as per record with the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

Ajay Jagga, former member of District Consumer Protection Council, Chandigarh administration, had also written a communique to Commissioner KK Yadav after he received a garbage collection charge of Rs 2,500.

In the communique he had mentioned, “My water bill for two months period has a levy of Rs 2,500 as Garbage Charges, whereas, we have no idea, as to what are the approved rates and how these charges have been computed. Hence you are requested to issue instruction to staff to release the tariff and the process of approval of tariff, for transparency and for the understanding of the consumers.”

Houses under construction also received waste collection bills, councillor seeks Mayor’s resignation

Councillor Devinder Singh Babla in a communique on Friday to Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma wrote that even those houses which were under construction were receiving garbage collection bills.

“The water bills which have just been issued Thursday, in which the charges of garbage have also been mentioned, you have left no stone unturned to increase the bill of the residents of the city. Even after increasing the charges, garbage is not being picked up properly and the whole system has collpased,” he said.

Babla specified, “Friday morning itself, hundreds of people from my sector from various households told me about the increased rate of garbage, all of them gathered and came to me. When I saw the bills, I was shocked to see that the charges for three kitchens have been imposed for those who have just one kitchen, and the ones who have already made the payments, again it has been added in the bill erroneously. Ironically and surprisingly, for those houses which are under construction for several years and there is no kitchen running or functional, even they are being charged for thousands of rupees.”

Babla gave his own example and stated that “the bill of his own house has also been charged for two kitchens.”

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