Earlier this month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced the decision that they would be putting an end to rebates on property tax for housing societies that decided to go green.. This decision comes after much thought because in the end, BMC officials felt that someone shouldn’t get a tax refund simply because they stopped littering their surroundings.
In 2014, the BMC made news when they announced that they would be offering a Tax Rebate On Green Housing Societies that adopted eco-friendly policies and made a conscious effort to dispose trash responsibly. Introduced as a part of “Clean society, green society” scheme, this was a welcome move although, on their part, BMC made this announcement as a desperate attempt to salvage the city’s trash problem because the landfills were filling up fast.`
This scheme had a simple operation method. The rebate would be given out after evaluating a set of parameters such as the quantity of waste the society produced, percentage drop in electricity consumption after going green, etc. The housing society would be evaluated annually to decide whether or not they qualify for the rebate.
On the whole, the civic body’s scheme received much praise from not just the city but from the entire state as well. The Pune Municipal Corporation also announced that they would be introducing a similar scheme where properties adhering to environment-friendly measures like rainwater harvesting, waste segregation etc would be given a 5-10% rebate. The Thane Municipal Corporation also followed suit and announced that they would be organizing a “cleanliness” contest where the cleanest society would be awarded a 5% rebate on property tax.
Why The BMC Scrapped A Popular Scheme
Following widespread questioning on why such a welcome move was scrapped, the BMC released a statement where they justified their decision stating that their logic was simple- nobody should be given a discount for doing something that they were expected to do in the first place. Waste segregation and disposing trash responsibly is the collective responsibility of citizens of a country. There shouldn’t be benefits for doing one’s duty.
The BMC also went ahead and gave deadlines to societies sized more than 20K square feet to set up some eco-friendly mechanism to compost the waste they produced inside their compound.
Widespread Objection Against BMC
As soon as the decision to scrap Tax Rebate On Green Housing Societies was announced, the city and housing societies specifically reacted negatively. The people are understandably upset. Some claim that the civic body is being unfair because they collect a certain portion of taxpayers money to clean the city and process the trash. So it seems unfair that they have now issued deadlines asking societies to deal with the garbage themselves.
While many understood the request to segregate trash, they are failing to see how the BMC can expect societies to make an additional investment to compost waste without incentivising it.
Despite widespread objection from activists, housing societies and even politicians, the BMC has not made an attempt to withdraw or alter their decision so far.
Only A Collective Effort Will Solve The Problem
The entire country is aware of Mumbai’s garbage woes. The metro has three landfills out of which only one can process trash scientifically and compost it. The waste crisis in the city is so bad that the High Court has put a ban on any new construction unless the BMC manages to find a solution to end its waste crisis.
We at ADDA believe that a feasible solution for this can be achieved if MCs and residents of housing societies work together. All they need is a platform for safely voicing their opinions and talking about what can be done.
What do you think? Can you think of ideas that can be implemented to solve this issue? Do let us know in the comments.