Ludhiana, June 13
Despite facing stiff opposition from various quarters for its proposed ‘privatisation’ of recovery of arrears of user charges, the Municipal Corporation (MC) top brass has reportedly given in-principle approval to handover the job to a private agency.
A sub-committee formed by the Mayor was said to have submitted its report in favour of hiring a private agency for effective recovery of arrears from the city residents.
The report of the sub-committee would be now placed in the next meeting of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC), and thereafter, the matter would be discussed in the general house before seeking statutory approval from the state government for inviting bids for the task from private companies.
Sources in the MC indicated that even after fixing several deadlines and weekly quota of recovery of arrears for the staff and concerned officials, both the Mayor and the MC Commissioner, Pradeep Sabharwal, were not happy with the performance of officials and heads of departments.
During last financial year, despite constant monitoring and later promise of a ‘reward and punishment policy’ for recovery of arrears of user charges, the MC could collect just about Rs 90 crore out of a total arrears of a whopping Rs 400 odd crores. “Even now, the Commissioner and Mayor are holding weekly review of recovery of local taxes and arrears of water and sewerage charges, but the move has apparently failed to yield desired results,” claim the sources.
However, the main opposition parties, especially SAD-B and BJP were averse to handing over recovery in private hands. Both the district president of SAD-B Ranjit Singh Dhillon and that of BJP Pushpinder Singhal have gone public to oppose the move for privatisation. They had alleged that the recovery agents would not hesitate to use strong-arm tactics to achieve their targets and the Covid-stressed common people would fall victims to highhandedness of private agency.
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