Pune Municipal Corporation Faces Criticism for Ignoring State Government’s Directive on Fire Premium Charges

Pune Municipal Corporation

Pune, 27th June 2023: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has faced backlash for not adhering to the Maharashtra state government’s directive regarding the levying of fire premium charges. Despite the government’s order to cease various fire fighting charges during the construction permission process, the PMC has continued to levy these charges, causing dissatisfaction among stakeholders.

In 2020, the State Government approved the ‘Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations’ (UDPCR), which instructed Municipal Corporations and Municipalities to stop levying fire infrastructure charges during construction plan approvals. However, the PMC has not fully implemented these guidelines.

The decision to stop levying fire infrastructure charges has had a significant impact on the PMC’s revenue from building permits. In response, the PMC opted to increase the fire premium and service charges. The rate hikes were substantial, with increases of nearly 665 percent for buildings measuring 15 to 24 meters in height, and 458 percent for buildings measuring 24 to 36 meters in height. Buildings of 36 to 40 meters and 40 to 45 meters in height saw fee increases of 57 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Recognizing the concerns raised by the construction sector, the state government took steps to amend the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Protection Measures Act, 2006. The amendments removed fire premium charges and fire infrastructure charges and introduced a consolidated ‘Fire and Emergency Service Fee’ to ensure uniformity across municipalities. Separate orders were issued, instructing municipalities to implement these changes from May 30.

Despite the changes in the law, it has come to light that the PMC has not yet implemented the new fee structure, leading to dissatisfaction among builders and members of the construction sector. They have approached the state government, highlighting the absence of provisions for fire premium charges by the government and the PMC’s continued levy of such charges.

Sudhir Kulkarni of the Civil Rights Organization has demanded the immediate implementation of the state government’s order. He stressed the importance of adhering to the law and urged the PMC to rectify the delay in implementing the revised fee structure.

The newly applicable rates for the ‘Fire and Emergency Service Fee’ are as follows: 0.25 percent for residential buildings up to 45 meters in height, 0.50 percent for residential buildings above 45 meters in height, 0.75 percent for commercial buildings up to 45 meters in height, and 1 percent for commercial buildings above 45 meters in height.

It is essential for the PMC to promptly comply with the state government’s directive and implement the revised fee structure. This will not only ensure fairness and uniformity but also foster trust and transparency between the municipal corporation and stakeholders in the construction sector.

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