The Association of Nagar Road Citizens Forums has opposed the PMC proposal to increase property tax by 12 per cent in the 2019-2020 Budget, on the grounds that the proposal is arbitrary and unilateral.
“The PMC should take citizens into confidence and explain the reasons for increase in the tax. A large amount of public money has not been recovered and the PMC has neither the inclination nor the will to recover the dues. It should avoid burdening citizens any further,” the Association said in a letter sent to PMC Commissioner Saurav Rao. A copy has been marked to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Association said the PMC currently charges for services it is not offering, which is in contravention of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India — the right to life. “Due to infringement of the fundamental right under Article 21, a citizen can demand compensation apart from seeking enforcement of the right according to the final order in PIL no. 71 of 2013 taken up suo motu by Bombay High Court,” the letter added.
The Association added that water supply and distribution to different parts of the city is inequitable and running short, and there is mismanagement of solid waste, leading to cleanliness and health hazards. “There is a delay in implementation of hawker’s policy and relocation of hawkers, which results in illegal occupation of footpaths, cycle tracks, kerbs and side margins of roads, streets,” the letter stated.
Repair work undertaken on roads and footpaths has been done in patchwork manner using different types and poor quality of material, which leads to accidents, the letter said. “There is no curb on encroachments and illegal structures, which belies the law of the land. The PMC is lax on collection of property tax in comparison to budget target figures. On the other hand, the PMC readily announces amnesty schemes for defaulters, which is a loss,” said Qaneez Sukhrani, one of the activists who signed the letter.
The Association said there is no mechanism in place to recover money dues on rent of leased PMC properties. “The Parking Policy, which would generate income for the PMC and decrease indiscriminate parking in public spaces, has not been implemented. Northeast Pune still suffers abysmal water supply, if at all. The Bhama Askhed project has been unnecessarily delayed due to political differences,” the letter stated.