BHUBANESWAR: With an aim to bring about institutional reforms in its working process, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to add more than 20 new legal regulations under the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 1950.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by BMC Commissioner Krishan Kumar. It was decided to go ahead with the proposal after identifying lacuna between its enforcement capacities and weak legal provisions backing them.
This is one of the biggest reforms proposed by the BMC to strengthen and streamline its internal functioning. Similar reforms were implemented under former BMC Commissioner Aparaijta Sarangi in 2007, when some of the existing regulations were formulated.
Currently, BMC has a few legal provisions that cover trade licence fee collection, user charges for collection of garbage from commercial units and tax collection from regulation of advertisement. Strengthening penal provisions will be a priority under the new regulations.
Different sections under the Corporation have been directed to study the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 1950, and suggest new legal regulations or by-laws which will enable their departments to have more legal authority. The Act was amended in 2008 to allow the corporations to add enabling rules as per their requirements.
BMC Additional Commissioner KP Pati said the existing regulations will also be amended. When the Corporation came into existence, Holding Tax and user fee charges were its primary revenue sources. The user charges for garbage collection from commercial units and hospitals were enforced more than eight years back and need upgradation according to the present market rates to boost revenue generation, Pati said.
Last year BMC had proposed to penalise the cattle owner `500 for every stray bovine it catches. But, the proposal did not receive State Government’s approval.
The Environment section of BMC too is toothless when it comes to implementation of polythene ban in the absence of a penal provision. Only Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has the authority to penalise those violating ban on polythene use. BMC’s letter to the State Government to allow them similar authority is gathering dust.
BMC Licensing Officer Srimanta Mishra said he has proposed amendment to five regulations in his section to hike licence fee.
A code of conduct will also be prepared for the officers for discharging their duties. It will be a two-way process which will involve the general public.