The Vadodara Municipal Commissioner (VMC) on Wednesday presented the draft budget of the VMC, pegged at Rs 3,820 crore, to the Standing Committee. In order to facilitate the Smart City projects, the cash-strapped civic body has proposed to increase the taxes in the coming financial year by Rs 80 crore.
The general property tax in the budget has been increased by about Rs 54.37 crore and the annual cleanliness tax (safai charge) has been increased to Rs 25.73 crore. The current annual cleanliness tax varies from a minimum Rs 50 to 100, depending on the sizes of the houses. Under the new budget, a house measuring under 50 sq meters, will pay Rs 300 towards cleanliness and those above 50 sq meters will pay Rs 600 annually.
Commercial property owners with up to 50 sq meter area will pay Rs 1,200 or 10 per cent of their general property tax (whichever is higher) while for an area of above 50 sq meter, the annual charge is Rs 2,400 or 10 per cent of general property tax (whichever is higher).
While presenting the budget, VMC commissioner Vinod Rao described the budget as a step towards his vision of “new Vadodara” and announced a slew of conciliatory projects like the country’s largest aviary in Sayajibaug zoo in the city as well as a Safari Park “like those in South Africa”.
The budget also has provisions that include a Rs 5 crore allocation for the development of the Sayajibaug garden as well as three new flyovers, which the civic body had recently proposed. These include one at Waghodia Road, Sangam Cross Road as well as Sussen Tarsali junction to be constructed at a cost of Rs 50 crore, Rs 45 crore and Rs 55 crore, respectively. Despite an announcement by the state government urging municipal corporations to explore alternate sources of water, the VMC has promised 24-hour water for the city by the year 2022, for which the work of installation of water meters is currently on. According to the budget, the step will help prevent water wastage.