Kalimpong, Jan. 19: A four-member team of the standing committee of municipal affairs and urban development department today visited the hill town to inspect the new projects taken up by the civic body.
“The officials submitted a memorandum to us, where they have mentioned the problems they are facing in executing the projects. We plan to pass it on to the government,” said acting chairman of the standing committee Jyotikrishna Chattopadhyay, who is also the MLA of Uttarpara, Hooghly.
One of the main hurdles is the scarcity of funds. “The amount sanctioned to the municipalities are distributed according to the population. But by the same rule, civic bodies in the hills receive a much smaller amount, as the areas are sparsely populated,” said Shanta Chhetri, the Kurseong MLA, who is also a member of the standing committee.
Besides the funds sanctioned by the government, the civic body is also unhappy with the revenue generated by it. “The tax collected by the civic body is also very little because of which, we can hardly provide the basic amenities to residents of the area. As a result, the town is always plagued by potholed and congested roads, poor solid waste management and shortage of water supply,” said C.K. Kumai, the civic body chief.
According to the memorandum, the civic body has a pending amount of Rs 1.33 crore as property tax, of which, it has been able to collect only about 32 per cent this financial year. The memorandum has also requested for more funds for the “urgent need to repair and strengthen the existing roads and drains along with the construction of new roads”.
The officials also demanded that casual workers should be regularised and the number of safai-karamcharis should be revised. The government ratio of sweepers is to residents is 1:1,000, while the municipality wants it to be 1: 500, according to the need of the hills.
The standing committee will return to Calcutta on January 21 after its visit to the Darjeeling municipality area.