Prior to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls in April, the civic body is taking a slew of measures which include distribution of jute bags to discourage use of plastics, waiver of property tax that is pending for more than six years, and a drainage project that is expected to solve water-logging woes in parts of Central Kolkata.

The mayor Firhad Hakim today went on a cleaning drive in the city where he distributed jute bags to a large number of people in the city in a bid to discourage them from using plastic bags while buying groceries from the market. Mr Hakim visited door-to-door to spread awareness regarding conservation of the environment.

He said “I am visiting door to door and requesting citizens to avoid using plastic while buying things from the market. We are encouraging them to instead use jute or cloth bags. Plastic is severely polluting the environment and we need to stop that. The drainage systems in the city are getting clogged with plastics which is preventing drainage of rainwater during monsoon.”

Asked whether this is an initiative taken up keeping the upcoming polls in mind, he said, “Trinamul works throughout the year and not just before polls. We are taking up development work for people continuously throughout the year.” The mayor also announced, “We are framing a policy to ensure that pending property tax for more than six years is waived off. It has been observed that many property owners are finding it difficult to clear property taxes that are pending for more than six years.

At times, one inherits a property or buys it from the previous owner without knowing that a large amount of property tax for years is pending. We are framing a policy by which a property owner will only have to clear due taxes for the last six years” “We have also instructed that owners of new properties that are coming up or have come up, should pay property taxes as per the new Unit Area Assessment (UAA) property tax rates,” said Mr Hakim.

The mayor pointed out that the KMC is taking up a large scale drainage work at Moulali that will solve waterlogging woes in parts of Central Kolkata. He said: “We are taking up a Rs 139 crores drainage project that will involve de-silting the Moulali box drainage system. No de-silting was done for the last 50 years in that drainage system. This is responsible for heavy waterlogging in areas of Central Kolkata. The tender process for the project is completed and we have sent it to the state government for provision of funds.”