With the Chandigarh municipal corporation trying to cope with the extreme financial downturn, residents can soon end up paying tax for property transactions to enter gardens, and also registration fees. If the plan from the Department of Horticulture, Municipal Corporation, is approved, citizens would have to pay the entrance fee at major gardens in Chandigarh.
This is as per an internal MC report that includes suggestions made by various departments to improve its financial position.
“An entry fee between Rs 10 and Rs 20 would boost our revenues at these locations. Entry fees might be there at Fragrance Garden, Sector 36; Rose Garden, Sector 16; Shivalik Garden, Mani Majra; Japanese Garden, Sector 31; and Valley of Animals, Sector 49, and others,” the department’s report to an Advisory panel said.
Loss due to COVID-19
The MC has had many years of struggle with its finances and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
The departments have reported revenue losses due to this year’s COVID pandemic. The office of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) had budget estimates of Rs21 crore accepted for 2020-2021. But Covid ‘s updated forecast is now just Rs7crore. The booking division also had an estimated budget of Rs10-crore from community center bookings, the updated figure of which is just Rs6.43 cr.
Paid Passes for Morning & Evening Walkers
This has also proposed providing paid passes to walkers in the mornings and evenings. It has also introduced a license fee to erect hedges on public land adjacent to residential areas.
Such suggestions didn’t go well with residents, however. “In some places where parks in the city are not protected, people go for a walk to those gardens. If entry fees are levied, then people would shy away from going there for a walk in the garden, “said Chandigarh’s Hitesh Puri, Chairman, Sector Welfare Associations Federation.
“These are not places of tourism, like the Rock Garden or Sukhna Lake. Those are basic facilities which are for ordinary people. And that move won’t give the company much revenue, “he added.
Maintenance of Garden
The MC horticulture department, in its recommendation, states: “Putting an entry ticket to garden / green belts ranging from Rs.10 to Rs.20 would increase revenue. The MC can also grant paid passes to walkers in the morning/evening.
Rose Garden, Sector 16; Fragrance Garden, Sector 36; Shivalik Garden, Manimajra; Japanese Garden, Sector 31; and Valley of Animals, Sector 49 have proposed implementing user charges.
There is also a proposal to place a charge of Rs.25 per 100 sq ft on erecting hedges on road berms adjacent to residential areas.
The department has also proposed that garden care and green belts are outsourcing. “Then, at the entrance of gardens, interested agencies should show their advertising board,” the report states.
Meanwhile, in addition to the stamp duty and the increase in fees for its various services, the MC estate department has proposed tax on occupations, trades, callings and employments, land registration fees at the UT estate office.
The booking branch proposed that water tanker charges increase from somewhere from Rs.350 to some Rs.500. As per the Swachh Bharat Mission, the MOH has proposed NOC fees and monthly charges from hotels, companies, and markets.
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