The ruling party in the Municipal Corporation, BJP, is likely to put on hold the proposal of hefty water tariff hike — a much-awaited relief for city residents.
Sources said that the agenda of reviewing the three-fold water tariff hike will be brought as table agenda in the House meeting scheduled for October 29.
A consensus has already been reached among all BJP councillors (who are in majority) for opposing the three-fold hike and sending the House observations to the administration in this regard. Congress councillors are already against the hike.
“It has been decided to put forth suggestion of putting the water tariff hike on hold at least till the time the COVID period is going on. People are already facing financial crunch and they can’t be burdened further. Many have lost their jobs and this is absolutely not the right time to introduce the hike,” a senior BJP councillor said.
Sources said that the councillors are planning to put forth the proposal passed in February this year with amendments.
“Moreover, it wasn’t a three-fold hike as approved earlier. Only when COVID is over, can we think of introducing the same but with proper amendments and not this much hike. A consensus has already reached among all of us. And this is something that the entire House will agree upon so as not to burden the residents,” another senior BJP councillor said.
The BJP, too, can’t take chances as the civic body will be going to polls next year. The Municipal Corporation elections are scheduled to be held in November-December 2021. How COVID situation has been dealt with in the city and taxes introduced are already the issues on cards of other political parties.
A panel of BJP councillors had already recommended that the agenda of water tariff be brought in the General House but it wasn’t included, something that had irked the councillors who had held officers responsible for the same.
There has been a lot of criticism on the water tariff hike in the city.
The Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh has already held a protest march against the civic body.
Calling the proposed hike unjustified and illogical, 700 members of various associations, trade unions and social organisations had walked from Sector 17 Plaza to the Municipal Corporation’s office.
It was stated by the resident welfare associations that the Municipal Corporation is acting like “East INDIA Company” leaving no stone unturned to loot the people of Chandigarh by imposing heavy and unjust taxes.
The protest had become wider with all Congress councillors, AAP convenor and Pendu Sangarsh Samiti also joining the protest to show their solidarity with FOSWAC on the issue of unjustified increase in water tariff.
The residents had stated that water is the basic requirement which should be met by the MC as the citizens are already paying hefty amount of house tax.
Also, it was suggested that MC should study the successful model of water supply in Delhi, wherein they are supplying water free of cost.
“The subsidy, if any, provided by the GOI should be utilised first before hiking the existing rates. The fact remains that the supply of water is inadequate for the requirement and below good quality which needs improvement before considering any hike, if at all,” the residents had said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines