Staff Reporter :
Claiming that 5 per cent contribution towards Maha Metro project is paid, in fact in excess, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) House scrapped a notification about 100 per cent hike in the development charges. A resolution tabled by Avinash Thakre, Ruling Party Leader, was adopted at the general body meeting on Thursday with voice vote on the grounds that the House was not taken into confidence by Municipal Commissioner Radhakrishnan B when he notified the hike in January 2021. While the civic administration claimed that State Government had already approved the hike in development charges, city fathers differed and stressed that realty sector has suffered a setback due to the steep hike. On nudge from senior corporator and MLC, Pravin Datke, the House went for vote on the resolution as ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to escape criticism that the 100 per cent hike was approved in year 2016. The implementation was, however, kept in abeyance till NMC notified and said, it would come into effect from the date Metro project was adopted during start of the year.
There seemed to be confusion within the Ruling party ranks during the general body meeting as initially Thakre had given a notice for adjournment motion seeking discussion on the pressing issue. Technically, debate was to be initiated after acceptance of the motion. But in flurry of things, rules went by and notice for discussion changed into resolution in a flash. Dharampal Meshram, a first time BJP corporator, did try to intervene to seek a clarification whether the House was to vote for adopting notice for discussion or for adopting a resolution to scrap the notification. Picking up clue, Ruling Party Leader quickly altered the stance and said, he is moving a modification and moved the resolution to stay the effect of the civic notification that allowed backdated collection of development charges. State Government, in the year 2016, while sanctioning Nagpur Metro Rail Project, had allowed hike in development charges by 100 per cent.
This was the one option among five provided to NMC, said Municipal Commissioner Radhakrishnan B for raising money to contribute 5 per cent of total project cost for Nagpur Metro. The clarification failed to convince senior ruling party leaders who seemed determined to push through the matter. Thakre’s contention and later supported by Datke was that since Rs 264 crore is with State Government mopped up through 1 per cent surcharge on stamp duty, NMC’s 5 per cent contribution is on course of meeting the target. The two further contended that various land parcels provided to Metro for development plus cash contribution of Rs 63 crore means there is no necessity for continuing with 100 per cent hike in development charges. Since nearly 80 to 90 per cent contribution already raised, NMC can do away with 100 per cent hike and provide relief to realty sector. The balance due can be raised by civic body through other means and citizens should be spared the unnecessary hike.
The hike is too taxing for citizens as Thakre cited a case of Dhantoli wherein one individual is seeking to start construction on his 3,000 sq.ft. plot is given demand for Rs eight lakh plus as development charges. His contention was that as per Section 124 (B), it was mandatory to seek approved of NMC House and since the same was not done and even mentioned note of then Additional Commissioner on proposal mooted by Town Planning Department. As to the Municipal Commissioner’s contention about the State approval then in February 2021, then why the civic body again sought a nod from the UDD for its decision on back dated hike in development charges. The Municipal Commissioner earlier pointed out that in Board meeting he had raised issue of compensation about median space but same was turned down. But NMC did get away with bargain of paying fixed cost of Rs 463 crore despite upward revision due to currency rate fluctuation. Previous cost of Nagpur Metro project was Rs 8,680 crore but revised later to Rs 9,759 crore. NMC’s 5 per cent contribution is Rs 463 crore of which so far Rs 63 crore is provided in cash.