Representatives warn of filing a petition in court

Representatives warn of filing a petition in court

Cantonment Board’s sewage maintenance fee

DEOLALI CAMP: Former Vice President Balwant Godse and NCP District Vice President Ratan Chawla submitted a letter to the Varied Board of Deolali Cantonment Board, demanding immediate revocation of the new sewage maintenance fee levied on the residents under Section 67 (g) of Cantonment Act, 2006. The public representatives and residents have warned of filing a written petition in the appropriate court if the board doesn’t repeal the order.

In the letter, the duo stated the Central Government sanctioned Rs.58.97 cr for the underground drainage system (sewage system) for the DCB’s civil area. The sewage treatment plant, though incomplete, what inaugurated in August 2020. Under the contractual obligation, the concerned contractor needs to maintain the plant for five years i.e., till 2024, as per the details available with the board. If the contractor is responsible for maintaining the plant, why is the varied board burdening residents with the maintenance fee?

They even questioned the passing of the resolution and alleged that their decision didn’t include any people’s representative or a civil nominal member. The Varied Board passed the resolution only with the inclusion of The President and Chief Executive Officer, thus leaving the public representatives behind. Even if they have the powers, the representatives need to have a say in the decision if it’s concerned with residents.

They added that normal dwelling in Cantt. area pays Rs.1100 as property tax annually, inclusive of all the service charges (lights, education, road maintenance, markets, hospital, etc). However, the new fee levied by the board sums up to Rs.1800 annually for a residential establishment, Rs.1200 for a Kutcha house, Rs.3000 for commercial establishments, and Rs.7,200 for schools and hospitals. The board needs to explain these massive charges.

They even alleged that the previous CEO Mr. Ajay Kumar, focused on appointing surplus manpower for the board instead of revenue generation. The corruption level behind hiring excessive manpower might unfold if the current CEO, Dr.Rahul Gajbhiye, focuses on the details.

Speaking on the lack of funds, they stated that Kumar failed to acquire overdue service charges of more than Rs. 100 crore from the Ministry of Defence and GST compensation worth Rs. 30 crore from the Ministry of Finance. The former Vice President Sachin Thakre and other 6 Ex-members of the last board have also filed their objection to the passing of the resolution without involving a public representative.

To conclude, they stated that the board should repeal the resolution immediately and not use the maintenance fee tag to cover up the poor quality material used for the plant. The letter has been forwarded to MP Hemant Godse, MLA Saroj Ahire, Defence Minister, DGDE, Ministry of Defence, and PDDE, Southern Command, Pune.

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