HDMC Commissioner walks out of general body meeting

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Dharwad: In an unusual development, the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) Commissioner Siddhalingayya Hiremath lashed out at the opposition party members and walked out of the general body meeting here on Tuesday. However, he returned after the members convinced him to attend the meeting.

As soon as the meeting began, Congress member Ganesh Tagargunti levelled a series of allegations against the Commissioner. He said that officials had not taken steps to fill-up potholes. He demanded that the Commissioner immediately sanction an additional Rs 25 lakh to each ward to repair inner roads. He raised objections over the Commissioner not attending the all-party meeting convened to discuss the stallage fee and other issues. Corporator Pappi Rayangoudar and Dashrath Wali too joined in the chorus.

Mr. Hiremath said that during this fiscal, a fund of Rs 45 crore was given to all wards. He said that asking for additional funds before the budget presentation would put an extra burden on the HDMC. The HDMC has collected property tax to the tune of Rs 42.74 crore, Rs 1.24 crore through advertisements and Rs 5.47 through stallage fees from shop owners. Of the total 300 shops owned by the HDMC, 110 shop owners had failed to pay the fee. Hence, their shops have been locked. This process is still on and erring shop keepers will face the music.

Under the city development, the HDMC has achieved 65% tax collection. The Corporation has broken all its previous records in tax collection. This year, tax collection is all time high, he said.

“Though all these achievements have been made, baseless allegations are being made. This does not hold good,” Mr. Hiremath said. He said that he could not attend the previous meeting as he had to attend another one in Bengaluru.

He condemned Mr. Tagargunti, walked out, and sat in the Mayor’s chamber. Mr. Tagargunti too followed the Commissioner and a verbal clash ensued between the duo. As the situation got out of control, senior members of the Congress and BJP rushed to the Mayor’s chamber and pacified both of them.

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