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Whip in one hand, gift on another

Dump on road, invite BMC ire

Bhubaneswar, July 31: The first major council meeting of the municipal corporation today decided to take strong action against citizens who encroached on public roads by dumping construction waste or building material.

The council unanimously decided that a private contractor will be engaged to lift construction debris from outside houses, but the corporation will levy a fine on the house owner or those involved in such business to realise the cost of removing the waste material.

The exact fine amount will be decided within a week or fortnight. However, government agencies or public utility service providers can dump construction material on the road but with due permission from the corporation.

“The enforcement of the fine will be done through certificate officers and a letter in this regard has been sent to the state government. The state government will designate one or two officials as certificate officers,’’ mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said.

Similarly, fresh construction material will be allowed to be kept on the road only for 24 hours with due permission from the corporation. Once the deadline ends, the owner has to remove it. If the material is found lying on the road after 24 hours, the house owner will be fined.

Though the first council meeting was held on June 11, it had ended only after welcoming the councillors and having a brief discussion on budget deficit.

However, at today’s meeting, several key decisions were taken.

Licence cancellation

The council has decided to take action and order cancellation of trade licences of those OMFED and OPOLFED stalls that encroach on government land, have unauthorised construction near the kiosks and are blocking the process of development.

“We have come across at least two cases in the city where road construction work is being delayed by OMFED and OPOLFED booths. The council today decided to take strong action against them and will cancel their trade licences,’’ said municipal commissioner Krishan Kumar.

Slum control

On mushrooming of slums and increasing roadside makeshift homes in the city, the commissioner said that those unlisted would be demolished soon.

“We are writing to the development authorities to ease conditions for the residents of slums recognised by the Rajiv Awas Yojna, but simultaneously will take strong action against those who are blocking development by creating slums at their will,’’ the commissioner said. According to the corporation website, there are 436 sums, including 116 recognised ones, in the city with a population of 3.08 lakh and they stay in 60,126 households. However, the actual number of slums in the city could be much more.

Slash in disposal cost

The council has drastically slashed the lifting charge of drain de-silting waste from Rs 2,450 to Rs 504. The decision was taken after a deliberation over the report of a technical committee formed with senior corporation officials as its members. The de-silting process is an annual exercise to keep the drains clean so that the rainwater can flow easily. “The rate was fixed through a bidding process, but as the technical committee has recommended for a drastic cut, the old payments will now be calculated on the basis of the new rate,’’ Kumar said.