CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Secretary of Municipal Administration and Water Supply department to take a decision on the proposal submitted by Commissioner, Chennai Corporation, to revise the property tax in the city, within two weeks.
A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and Krishnan Ramaswamy gave the directive when a batch of PILs seeking to remove encroachments made by CASA Grand Builder Private Limited at Adyar river adjacent to Rajiv Gandhi statue abutting Maraimalai Adigalar bridge at Saidapet, came up.
After impleading the Secretary suo-motu, the bench noted that property tax revision was made long ago in 1998 and the civic body chief had already submitted a proposal to the Municipal Administration secretary to revise the property tax. It is disheartening to note that four revisions had been missed putting the corporation into financial hardship. Unless income is augmented, the corporation may not be in a position to provide amenities to citizens, especially after its boundaries were expanded. With the growth in population, development in the city is enormous.
Even a single-storey building is being converted into a multi-storeyed one having more than 40 apartments. When such is the condition, sewage output would be more. Hence, necessary steps have to be taken on a war footing, so that sewage treatment plants are established in every multi-storeyed building. Only then waterbodies could be safeguarded from being dumped with untreated sewage which would result in depletion of safe water and also increase infectious diseases through mosquitoes, the bench said. It suggested to Chennai Corporation, CMDA and CMWSSB to charge the separate fee for setting up sewerage treatment plants in the interest of the public.
The bench also directed the Member-Secretary, CMDA and the civic body chief to take an inventory of the number of orders being passed against them and the number of orders being complied with and to give appropriate directions to their subordinates to implement them and file a report at the next hearing on August 3.
Further, they should also devise a mechanism fixing step by step responsibility on officials. Unless such a responsibility is fixed, no one will comply with court orders. Unless court orders are implemented properly, people will loose faith in the system which is not good for democracy, the bench said.