Dehradun residents fear urbanisation, heavy taxes in newly included villages
With the civic body polls just days away, residents of villages that have been newly included in the ambit of the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) after the delimitation process have expressed their apprehensions over the decision. They said that their inclusion in the DMC will lead to “urbanisation and increase in taxation” in their areas.
Muhammad Miyan, a resident of the Markham Grant village of Doiwala block said that his family has lived in the village for generations. “We are a joint family of 22 members and our entire family survives on the crops that we grow in our five acre land. But now with the inclusion of our village in DMC limits, we will have to pay land tax to the municipal body. Over Rs 1 lakh will go in paying taxes annually to the civic body and I don’t know how we will survive.”
Miyan is also worried that once the village becomes part of the urban local body, the urbanisation of the area will lead to the building of houses and commercial complexes, thus destroying his agricultural land and the surrounding forests.
The villagers are further miffed with the news that the civic corporation will not conduct door-to-door garbage collection in their wards. “The government on one hand is destroying our villages and on the other is not extending the facilities and services to us,” said Praveen Makreti of Khala village.
Makreti added that with delimitation, unbridled construction in these villages will soon follow. “Dehradun is crumbling under the weight of increasing population and no civic amenities. Now, people from there will start settling in our villages, further destroying nature,” he said.
Makreti’s fears are accentuated by the fact that the newly included area has less population and more empty space. According to official documents, the DMC (state’s largest municipal body) had a total area of around 64 sq km under its jurisdiction but with the addition of 72 villages, its area will be around 190 sq km.
The population governed by DMC, however, will not increase much. There were around 3.75 lakh registered voters in 60 wards of the DMC and now, the total 100 wards will have just 6.24 lakh voters.
Meanwhile, officials said that the corporation will not be levying any extra tax on the villages and will also extend the services to them. “There will be no house tax on the villages for the first 10 years. As far as door-to-door garbage collection is concerned, we will soon be extending the services to all the wards,” a DMC official said.