Bhubaneswar: A day after Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor informed that agitators will have to shell out tax for holding protest or demonstrations in Odisha capital, the elected representative today made a U-turn after facing backlash from several quarters.
Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said it was only recommended by a standing committee in 2014 but the final call is yet to be taken, which clearly contradicts his earlier statement.
Jena had yesterday said the civic body will charge a minimum amount of Rs 500 however small the size of the agitation may be. But if the number of people involved in the agitation crosses the 100 mark, Rs 1,000 a day will be charged. If the number of people taking part in dharna exceeds 500, then the charge will be calculated at Rs 5 per head per day.
Speaking to reporters here today, he said: “The standing committee had recommended such plan in order to keep the city streets clean. It’s still in process and no final decision in this regard has been taken yet.”
The same was reiterated by BMC Commissioner Krishan Kumar.
“No decision has been taken yet to collect fees from agitators. We have only written to the Commissionerate of Police to put restrictions on plastic use by agitators during rallies,” Kumar told reporters when asked about the new rule.
Meanwhile, the Twin City Commisionerate of Police issued a notification stating agitators should be held responsible and will be penalized if they cause damage to any public properties during rallies.
“Agitators must have to sign an indemnity bond with the police by agreeing they have to pay the price if they damage public properties during protests in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack,” said Police Commissioner YB Khurania.
He said the new rule will be effective from January, 2018.
Notably, the common people and opposition political parties blasted the BMC and State government for deciding to collect fees from people who come to stage protest in the capital city.