Guwahati, Sept. 21: Prominent residents resorted to a daylong fast here today against the “irrational” property tax hike and efforts to commercialise the supply of drinking water.
The citizens, under the banner of Guwahati Sanmilita Nagarik Adhikar Suraksha Mancha, accused the government of executing various schemes in the name of development of the city by keeping the people in the dark.
They demanded that the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) must adopt unit area method while assessing urban property tax instead of the existing method of calculation, which was too complicated for the common man to understand.
“Many people in the city are at a loss after they receive exorbitant property tax bills. The GMC did not take the public into confidence while fixing the property tax rate. A large section of people in the city are from the middle class and the new property tax rate has cut a big hole in their pockets,” secretary of the Mancha, Kamal Medhi, said.
Medhi said despite requests and submission of memorandums to the GMC to revise the new property tax rate, the corporation had not paid heed. He said the lackadaisical attitude of the corporation and other city development agencies towards their demands had forced the Mancha to resort to strike today.
The Mancha alleged that Dispur had created the Guwahati Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board, commonly known as the Jal board, through a legislation enacted without informing the public. The members said the act governing the Jal board stated that the cost of installing and operating the water supply projects would be recovered in the form of water tax from the public, which was unacceptable.
“We cannot allow the state government to levy high water tax in the name of meeting the expenses of the water supply projects,” said Hiren Gohain, president of the Mancha.
Gohain alleged there was absolute chaos in the city in the name of executing the new water supply schemes. “Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority has been digging different roads in the city to install new pipelines. After installation of pipelines, the roads were not repaired. There are big holes in different areas and accidents have become commonplace with people falling into these holes.”
Three new projects under way to supply safe drinking water round-the-clock in Guwahati
JNNURM funded project for the southwest
JICA funded project for the north and south
ADB funded project for the southeast
Harassment in the name of laying pipelines, apart from urban tax hike,
invite public ire