Shimla, September 29
The Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) has decided to disconnect electricity and water supply connections of consumers who have not cleared their outstanding dues of property tax and garbage fee. The outstanding property tax dues alone stand at Rs 10 crore.
Significantly, after the salaries of SMC employees were withheld, the recovery of outstanding garbage fee dues had improved.
City Mayor Surender Chauhan said, “There is no point if we do not collect the outstanding dues as interest on it increases every month. We have to improve collections to generate revenue. As the salaries of the employees were withheld, if needed, the salaries of senior MC officials, including the Commissioner, can also be withheld. The SMC has already served notices of disconnection on major defaulters. The matter was discussed in the House meeting. The collection of outstanding property tax and garbage fee dues has improved.”
“Relaxation was given to defaulters during the Covid-19 period but they will have to pay their dues. They can make payment in instalments as well. Important decisions with regard to garbage fee in the city were taken in the annual general meeting (AGM) but even this meeting has not been held for the past over three years now. Things have to be streamlined to improve the financial health of the SMC,” said the Mayor.
He said that a committee for the settlement of dues would be constituted soon. The committee would be headed by the Joint Commissioner of the SMC and would also comprise three councillors. “After serving notices on defaulters, they will be asked to meet the committee and efforts will be made to settle dues. First notices will be served on defaulters and if they don’’t make payments on time, their water and electricity connections will be snapped,” he added.
The HRTC has outstanding dues of Rs 6 crore. There are 30,319 property tax payers and around 60,000 commercial and domestic garbage fee payers in the city. Despite strong opposition from a quarter of ward councillors, a 4 per cent annual hike in property tax was in the SMC House meeting held in July this year.
Committee for settlement
- The mayor said that a committee for settlement of dues would be constituted soon which shall be headed by Joint Commissioner of the SMC and three ward councillors.
- After serving notices on defaulters, they will be asked to meet the committee and efforts will be made to settle dues
- First notices will be served on defaulters and if they still don’’t make payments on time, their water and electricity connections will be snapped.
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