Service charge for door-to-door waste collection likely from January
Civic officials express interest in using Bescom’s infrastructure for smooth process
If all goes as per plan, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) hopes to start collecting the ₹200 service charge or user fee for door-to-door collection of garbage from households every month from January 2021. Civic officials expressed interest in using Bescom’s infrastructure to ensure a smooth collection process.
D. Randeep, BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), told The Hindu that the civic body is in talks with Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom). Admitting that the talks were still in the nascent stage, he said the issue had been discussed with Bescom’s senior officials. Recently, a letter detailing the charges had also been sent to Bescom.
“The BBMP does not have the infrastructure such as billing machines to collect service charges from citizens. It will take time to have this in place. Bescom, on the other hand, already has the reach as each house is metered and has an RR (revenue register) number. They also have personnel who issue bills with hand-held billing machines,” he said.
He added that it has been suggested that Bescom’s software be linked with a waste generator mapping app that has been developed by the civic body. Bescom can either add a garbage service charge in the same bill or issue a separate bill. “For the service of issuing bills, after giving us a list of households that have paid and transferring the money collected to BBMP’s account, we will pay service charges to the power utility. We hope to follow up with Bescom on this and start collecting service charges from January 2021,” he added.
Service charges, however, will not be collected from households that are composting wet waste in situ. “Residents will have to submit a self-declaration form. BBMP officials will inspect the same,” said Mr. Randeep.
Citizens oppose move
Though it was passed by the BBMP council in June this year, not many citizens are aware of the civic body’s plan to collect service charges. They also questioned the rationale behind the additional fee when the civic body already collects garbage cess as part of property tax.
Peter Samson, a social worker and resident of Victoria Road, called it a money-making racket. “The door-to-door collection of garbage is only on paper as is mandatory segregation of waste at source. Citizens are already paying a lot of taxes, and this is just burdening us further,” he said.
G.S. Renukaprasad, president of Shantinagar Residents’ Welfare Association, pointed out that waste management infrastructure is lacking, with many wards not having dry waste collection centres.
Former councillor G.H. Ramachandra noted that the civic body could be justified in collecting service charge if waste was being handled efficiently. “Instead, there are black spots across the city as a result of ineffective door-to-door collection. A huge quantum of waste from the city is not processed, but dumped in landfills,” he said.
BBMP officials have justified the collection citing the huge spend on solid waste management. The SWM cess collected as part of property tax is around ₹45 crore to ₹50 crore a year, while the spend on SWM is around ₹1,000 crore a year.
What is garbage service charge?
Earlier this year, the State government approved Solid Waste Management (SWM) bylaws that allow the BBMP to levy and collect service charge for door-to-door collection of waste. This service charge, which is separate from SWM cess that is collected along with property tax, ranges from ₹200 to ₹14,000 a month.
SWM officials explain that the cess, mandated by the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, is for general upkeep of the city, clearing black spots, street cleaning, and so on. Service charge, on the other hand, is for the delivery of a specific service. In this case, it is for door-to-door collection of different streams of waste.