New Mayor Proposes Penalty Waiver to Expedite Water Bill Arrears Collection

In a significant move to address long-pending water bill arrears, Mayor Veena Baradwad presided over her first general body meeting at Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation. She has proposed a penalty waiver on water charges to facilitate the speedy collection of outstanding dues that have accumulated over the years.

Addressing the Arrears Issue

During the municipal council meeting in Dharwad, Mayor Baradwad highlighted that, in numerous cases, the penalty charges have exceeded the actual arrears. This punitive approach has become a hindrance for those who genuinely wish to clear their dues. In light of this, the Mayor proposed to waive the penalties, aiming to make it easier for residents to settle their arrears. However, this proposal will need the government’s approval before implementation.

Priorities of the New Mayor

As the newly elected Mayor of the twin cities, Mayor Veena Baradwad emphasized her commitment to resolving the persistent water crisis in Hubballi-Dharwad. Her top priority is to ensure 24 x 7 water supply is extended to all the 82 wards of the municipal corporation, as this remains the most viable solution to the ongoing drinking water challenges.

Currently, only 30 wards in the twin cities have access to 24 x 7 water supply. The Mayor intends to accelerate the project to cover the entire region, providing an uninterrupted water supply to all residents.

Simplifying Property Tax Collection

Apart from the water supply issue, Mayor Baradwad also highlighted the importance of simplifying the property tax collection procedure. By streamlining this process, the municipal corporation aims to encourage more people to pay their taxes promptly. The goal is to reach a tax collection target of ₹189 crore in the current financial year.

Promising Developments

Mayor Baradwad revealed plans for a biomining unit to be established in Hosayallapur, Dharwad. This facility, with an estimated cost of ₹30 crore, is expected to become operational within the next three to four months. Additionally, the focus will be on developing a comprehensive gas pipeline network across all wards in the twin cities.

Opposition’s Concerns and Responses

Leader of the Opposition, Suvarna Kallakuntla, voiced concerns about the poor quality of recent works, specifically pointing out the deteriorating condition of many interior roads filled with potholes. Addressing this, HDMC Commissioner Ishwar Ullagaddi assured that specific problems brought up by the councillors would be promptly dealt with, and development works would be carried out in consultation with them.

Forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections and Implementation Efforts

A BJP councillor raised a valid concern that the Mayor might have limited time for implementation due to the impending Lok Sabha elections. Urging the Mayor to focus on expediting the pending projects, the council seeks proactive efforts to ensure their successful completion.

The general body meeting saw constructive discussions on various issues faced by the citizens of Hubballi-Dharwad, aiming to drive the region towards overall development and prosperity. With the Mayor’s proposal to waive penalties on water bill arrears, a positive step has been taken towards alleviating financial burdens on residents and encouraging timely payments. The forthcoming implementation of the biomining unit and the gas pipeline network indicates a promising future for the cities’ infrastructure. With the cooperation of the municipal council and the diligent efforts of Mayor Veena Baradwad, Hubballi-Dharwad can move forward with improved efficiency and a brighter outlook for its citizens.

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