Ahmedabad: Starting October, the BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will start levying ‘user charge’ ranging from 50 paise to 2 from households and commercial establishments for the door-to-door collection of garbage. The proposal to levy this user charge, which is in addition to the municipal tax, was approved Friday during a meeting of the standing committee of the AMC, said Amul Bhatt, chairman of the committee. While the opposition Congress had earlier alleged that such a charge would defeat the purpose of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, Bhatt claimed it would actually complement it.

As per the finalised rate chart, owner of a 30 sq metre house or less have to shell out 50 paise, while other households need to pay 1 per day to get their garbage collected from their doorstep. All the commercial establishments need to pay 2 per day towards the ‘user charges’, Bhatt said adding that its implementation will start from 1 October.

“AMC had started the door-to-door garbage collection for citizens in 2009 without charging anything extra. Then, in 2016, the Centre introduced rules for solid waste management in the proposed Smart Cities. The rules mandate the collection of such user charge, which can be a token amount also," he added.

Even since the introduction of door to door garbage collection in 2009 through specially designed vans by private operators, AMC had not imposed any additional charge till now. “This is not an additional tax. It is a user charge as mandated under the Swachh Bharat Mission, as points are added for such charge during the survey. This charge will make people more aware about cleanliness, as they will now be paying a token amount," the BJP councillor added.

Defending the move, Bhatt said the corporation was finding it tough to cope with the ever-expanding city limits. “We spend 105 crore each year on garbage collection. Now, as the city is expanding, we have to devise a mechanism to cover the costs. “While the collection from this user charge will be around 70 crore, the AMC still needs to add another 40 to 45 crore to run the garbage collection smoothly," he added.