**Bhubaneswar: ** The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to levy a tax on activists who use public space for organising dharnas in the Capital City.
The Civic Body will also charge marriage procession in a similar manner, and such activities will require a written permission from the BMC prior to the event.
Sources said, the Corporation initiated teh step, in a bid to check littering and ensure hygiene of public spaces which are usually dirtied after agitations and merry-making ceremonies.
“Such a form of tax was non-existent in Bhubaneswar. However, with the Temple City acquiring the top-Smart City tag, it was necessary to raise a sense of consciousness among the citizens,” a senior BMC official said.
While the policy has already been drafted at the Corporation level, it is expected to be sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development within a month to go for a Gazette notification.
In a meeting held on Wednesday, the BMC decided to charge a minimum of Rs 500 from protesting groups. If more than 500 persons stage protest, each one has to pay Rs 5. If 100 to 500 people conduct the meeting or stage dharna they will have to pay Rs 1000 per day.
For marriage and other processions, the organisers of such functions and procession shall deposit Rs 5000 per day towards sanitation charges with the respective zonal offices.
In a bid to comply with the Plastic Waste Management Rules- 2016, it was also decided at the meeting to restrict the use of polythene bags and sheets.
Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said, there should be no littering on the public places and roads and ban on open defecation has been also imposed. The tax collected will be non-refundable, and utilised for sanitation and cleanliness.