Times of India | 1 week ago | 18-09-2022 | 06:35 am
AHMEDABAD: Thousands of walls and public property including the pillars of metro corridor in the city have been covered with political graffiti in the last three months, as political parties campaign ahead of the assembly elections. As the election commission will announce election dates any day now, the city civic body has started erasing slogans and party symbols from the walls of government property in the city. This process will cost the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) about Rs 75 lakh, while its coffers are nearly empty. The AMC has instructed the engineering departments of all seven municipal zones to float tenders for erasing political slogans and other graffiti from public property. Sources said in some zones, this work has already begun. In the last three months the BJP, Congress and AAP have painted their slogans and symbols in public places as part of their campaigns. The properties concerned include flyovers, pillars, walls, underpasses and even the compound wall of the AMC's headquarters in Danapith. Sources said most zonal offices have already floated tenders and some have already been sanctioned. They said each zone will spend Rs 10-12 lakh on erasing political advertisements. An official of the AMC engineering department, on condition of anonymity, said the total expenditure will work out to about Rs 75 lakh. Sources said ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the AMC spent Rs 3 crore on erasing political graffiti and removal of political banners, posters and hoardings. In August, the civic body's political and executive wings accepted that it does not have enough funds to operate. To continue operation, the AMC took a loan of Rs 350 crore from the state government. The civic body's liabilities stand at Rs 700 crore, including Rs 350 crore to private contractors and Rs 350 crore to the state government for outstanding bills for raw water and other works. During an AMC standing committee's meeting on in August, attended by municipal commissioner Lochan Sehra, mayor Kirit Parmar, standing committee chairman Hitesh Barot and other senior functionaries of the political and executive wings, it was decided to ask Gujarat State Financial Services Ltd (GSFS) for a loan of Rs 350 crore to fund routine operations. The interest rate will be 8%. AMC has already borrowed Rs 350 crore from GSFS at 6.75% interest to fund Phase 2 of the Sabarmati Riverfront.
AHMEDABAD: The city civic body's cattle nuisance control department (CNCD) has slowed down on impounding stray cattle from city roads as two animal shelters are now full. At the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) health and solid waste management committee's meeting on Wednesday, officials admitted that their teams are now impounding about 50 heads of stray cattle a day, about half the number from earlier. Prakash Gurjar, deputy chairman of the health and solid waste management committee, said that the AMC's Danilimda shelter has around 3,300 heads of stray cattle while the Bakrol shelter has around 1,500 animals. Both facilities are full now. We are in the process of setting up new shelters but that will take time. Impounding of stray animals has been affected due to this," Gurjar said. The committee members said that they had slowed down on impounding stray cattle for a while as they were concerned about the spead of the lumpy skin disease (LSD) virus. At the meeting, it was also decided that food inspectors will have to sit at zonal offices and their jurisdictions will be those zones only.
In a major relief to small and medium factories and industrial units, the property tax of their offices in the premises will be calculated at the same rate as the factories themselves. At present tax on offices is calculated at a factor 7 while the factory is rated at factor 2.For big factories and industrial units, office space upto 150 sq.m or 1,650 sq ft will be calculated at factor 2. Bigger offices will have tax at factor 7, AMC Revenue Committee Chairman Jainik Vakil said.However, the condition is that the offices should be used for administrative use only. If it is used to seat managers or administrators, then the tax would be calculated on the whole unit at factor 2. This will benefit a large number of factories and industrial units which have to large amounts as tax.Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) launched an information booklet about the tax structure. The book, priced at Rs 50, has all details of property and other taxes to inform people of the tax structures, Vakil said.
AHMEDABAD: The city civic body has relaxed the rule for calculating property tax for office spaces located within factory premises. Property tax on factories used to be low compared to that on office spaces within the factories. According to the modified rule, owners of factories which have office space up to 1,615 sq ft will pay property tax in the same slab as the rest of the factory premises. However, if the office space is bigger than 1,615 sq ft, the factory owner will have to pay property tax which falls in the office space slab. The decision was taken in the AMC revenue committee's meeting held on Wednesday. "We used to calculate office spaces using Factor 7 which is the office-space parameter for property tax calculation. For factory premises, we used Factor 2 which is the parameter for calculating industrial properties," said Jainik Vakil, the chairman of the AMC's revenue committee. "The Factor 7 tax slab is higher than the Factor 2 tax slab. The owners of many small and medium factories used to default on taxes." Vakil said that the AMC decided to modify the rule and made it more acceptable to the owners of such factories.
Just 10 metres from the Navrangpura Metro station, a posh society has been battling waste dumped near their premises. A member of Saurabh Society alleged that solid waste was being dumped opposite their society for many months now. Society members claimed to have filed over 20 complaints in the past two months with the AMC, but the situation has not changed, they said.The society houses doctors, lawyers, architects and IAS officers. Another residential complex, Sahajanand Society, with 100 flats is also facing the same issue.Dr Aditya Misra, an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon who lives in Saurabh Society told Mirror that they have complained about the accumulation of solid waste opposite their society several times. “I sent complaints on the Swachhata App 15 times in the past two months and have personally visited the AMC office several times for the same, but the problem has not been resolved,” said Dr Misra.He alleged that tractors and trolleys dump all kinds of solid waste including kitchen waste and construction debris through the day. He said the AMC deliberately closes the complaint without addressing them giving the impression that it is resolved. “We are thus forced to call and complain again to keep the complaint unresolved until it is resolved,” said Misra.Another society member said it is high time the civic body gets hold of the culprits dumping waste in front of society.They also complained of squatters on the footpath opposite their society and that they have been moved here due to the launch of the Metro. The waste is spread over 400 metres on the stretch and to hide the debris, it is covered with green waste, they alleged.Deputy Municipal Commissioner C R Kharsan, who has charge ofSolid Waste Management, promised to look into the matter and do the needful if Mirror shared the address with the civic body.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday said some “self-appointed astrologers” have declared dates of elections before his visit to Gujarat.Without taking his name, the CEC took a swipe at state BJP chief C R Paatil, who had said the Assembly polls may conclude by November-end, Kumar told reporters, “We take a decision on when to hold elections after taking into consideration all factors. Whenever the time comes, we inform the media and nobody else.”The CEC and a team of senior officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI) are in Gujarat to review the poll preparedness. Talking about the preparedness in Gujarat, the CEC said the ECI is working to connect more people through technology. The poll body has launched CVIGIL and KYC apps as well as Suvidha portal for candidates.The CEC said efforts are undertaken to encourage senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to exercise their franchise. Out of the total 4.83 crore electors in Gujarat, 10.36 lakh voters are above the age of 80 while 11,842 are centenarians, he said, adding that the number of PWDs in the state is 4.13 lakh. He said, “We have asked collectors to send someone to the houses of centenarians to express gratitude and offer them respect.” The CEC said the last electoral rolls in Gujarat (before polls) will be published on October 10.For transparent and fair polls, the ECI will make provision for webcasting from over 50% of 5,178 polling booths in the state during the upcoming elections, he said. “We are taking very strong action in ensuring transparency in booths. These polling stations are identified as sensitive and critical booths,” Kumar said.Rajiv Kumar said the poll body will send booth-level officers (BLOs) to the residences of senior citizen voters who opt to vote from home. The process will be video-graphed. A similar facility will also be made for PWDs with over 40% disability.He said he has received some constructive suggestions from political parties, several of which such as web-casting of polling booths, not allowing candidates and party workers to ferry voters, and SOPs for poll code to ensure common citizens are not harassed will be implemented.About donations to political parties, the CEC said such donations should be disclosed. Candidates and political parties will be required to publish information regarding criminal antecedents in newspapers,he said.