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BMC To Tax Public For Dharna, Marriage Procession, Denizens' Outcry Reaches Boiling Point

07 December 2017

Tapan Das

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Bhubaneswar: With the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) announcing a proposal to levy taxes on marriage processions and agitations, public outcry against the scheme is surging. A majority of denizens in the Temple City have termed the approach as hegemonistic.

BMC should have consulted and taken the public into confidence before drafting such a proposal, said a group of senior citizens in Bomikhal. “As per the present system, a marriage procession requires permission from the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. The policy is going to be redundant only to render inconvenience to the common man,” the group stated.

Mayor AN Jena on Thursday backed the stand, stating that the proposal was an initiative by the civic body to ensure that the Plastic Waste Management Rules- 2016 are adhered to. “We want a clean city and check the use and littering of plastic materials in Bhubaneswar. The money collected will be channelised for developmental activities intended for the public,” Jena said.

While the exact nature of the taxation will be clear only after it is passed through a Gazette notification, the denizens are wondering, how the BMC could quantify littering during public processions or rallies.

Whether the Corporation will seek details about the number of members in a procession before granting permission, and levy the charges accordingly, or the tax will be flat slab common for all forms of celebratory functions which utilise arterial or tertiary roads. This remains a million dollar question.

On the other hand, agitators who flock the Capital City, especially during Assembly sessions, are in no mood to comply with the orders.

“We are already an aggrieved lot travelling from far-flung places with a hope of grievance redressal. Do we dirty the entire city, where are we supposed to drink water or have our meals, we cannot afford a mineral water bottle,” a group of women protestors said.

The agitators usually have their food on the Mahatma Gandhi Marg, which has been designated by the Commissionerate of Police as a ‘Dharna’ site. “Let the BMC provide good number of dustbins, we will not even litter on the unused places,” a woman protestor Brunda Majhi said.

According to the existing norms, any protest scheduled in the capital city will need to have permission from the DCP office. “A similar regulation, combined with financial charges, is needless and will lead to harassment,” Majhi added.

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Ananta Narayan Jena, Mayor, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation

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Public Outcry Against BMC's Proposed Tax