Since the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) approved the proposal to levy user fees on garbage collection from residents at the council meeting, the civic body has faced stiff resistance from the share of the population and various resident welfare associations.
The GVMC had initially levied ₹120 per household per month including apartment dwellers. But after facing a backlash from the BPL segment, the civic body had reduced the fee for white ration card holders from ₹120 to ₹60. But even that also faces strong resistance.
Fees for hotels and restaurants again range from ₹500 to ₹1,500 depending on the size and arrangement of seats and for bars and restaurants they are ₹3,000. Similarly, for reception halls, it ranges from ₹4,000 to ₹15,000, depending on the size of the hall.
Trying to clear the air on the matter, GVMC Commissioner G. Lakshmisha said that there are virtually separate fees for each segment and the fees have been set after conducting a scientific investigation of various segments. But people should not confuse fees with taxes. People feel it is a tax. It is not a tax, but only a fee for services provided by GVMC, he said.
He said this is collected nationwide and not limited to the city
“It is levied in all states, based on the guidelines provided by the National Green Court, the Union Government Swachh Bharat Initiative and the state government,” Mr Lakshmisha said.
Comparing them to toll charges, he said, it is the charges collected for the services provided by society, just like the charges that are collected at the toll to provide good, wide and safe highways or national roads, which are built on the basis of the BOT.
“Here we collect the trash, bag it, put it in covered vehicles and dispose of it in the disposal sites, which are again scientifically constructed with investment,” he said.
According to him, part of the user fees will be paid to the IME for the approximately 600 vehicles that have been purchased for garbage collection.
He also pointed out that payment awareness has increased over the past few months. “Initially, in November last year, barely 2-3% of the population had come forward to pay the charges, but today it has risen to 25%,” he said. he declares.
On whether force was applied for the payment of the charges, he said: “It is a fact that it is necessary for the charges to be paid and efforts are underway to convince people. People must understand that they are there for their good and that of the city.