Hyderabad: Property tax payers under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) appear to be paying twice for the same service. The GHMC collects about Rs 1,400 crore per year as property tax to fund services including the door-to-door collection of garbage. It has also been charging an additional `1,000 crore from property tax payers for providing the same door-to-door garbage collection service.
Tax payers are not required to pay an additional amount for garbage collection as its charge is already included in property tax. GHMC Act says collecting door-to-door user charge for any service is a violation of Section 199 (1) of the Act.
Supporting this, Section 489 of the GHMC Act (conservancy tax) also clearly states that the Commissioner should not contemplate or levy any amount towards administrative charges for lifting, transporting and dumping garbage.
Incidentally, the Corporation has been enhancing annual property tax collections by 20 per cent. This year, it has set a target of collecting `1,800 crore though this tax.
Despite the increase, GHMC is also set to collect its `1,000-odd crore from 14.5 lakh residential properties who on an average spend `50 each as the basic amount for the Swachh auto drivers that collect garbage from household.
According to GHMC sources, the civic body has distributed 2,500 auto-tippers to beneficiaries under the owner-cum-driver scheme. The Corporation procured each auto-tipper at an estimated cost of `4.5 lakh and is paying `7,000 every month in installments on behalf of beneficiaries. The Swachh auto trolleys, on an average, lift additional garbage of about 1,500 metric tonnes daily.
Sources said the Corporation has fixed the responsibility on each Swachh tipper to collect garbage from at least 800 households and a base fee of `50 every month. The Corporation said that it was just a basic amount but auto drivers can collect up to `500 per household based on the locality.
The GHMC has been also paying `1,341 per metric ton to Ramky Enviro Engineers to transport garbage from the city to the dumpyard, as the civic body is running short of vehicles.
The Corporation has paying `224 crore annually for its delay in purchasing vehicles.
However, Corporation officials argued that Section 484 of the GHMC Act allows the Corporation to collect fees for door-to-door garbage collection. Section 484 of the Act says that the GHMC is responsible for removal of all excrement and polluted matter from public privies, urinals and cess pools, but not from households. Senior GHMC officials were unavailable for comment....