Amritsar, December 7
Former district president of Aam Aadmi Party and RTI activist Suresh Sharma said property tax is a major source of income for civic bodies, but it is being ignored by the Municipal Corporation (MC) officials.
The activist claimed that the MC is ignoring the potential of property tax collection and can collect Rs 100 crore from the pending scrutiny cases of property tax only.
Sharma stated that in the previous Congress government, the leaders and MC officials didn’t pay attention to the recovery of property tax. He said there were thousands of commercial buildings in the city, while property tax was being collected from only a small number of commercial properties. A number of high-end buildings in the city are not paying the tax as per rules. The influential owners of these buildings are out of the reach of the property tax department of the MC.
Sharma said due to lack of building-wise scrutiny of property tax, property tax of over Rs 100 crore was yet to be collected. He said as per information received through an RTI application, during the previous government, the MC Commissioner assigned the task of property tax scrutiny to then Secretary Sushant Bhatia. He filed a report of a few buildings to the MC Commissioner. In that report, property tax of 19 properties was scrutinised.
After security and physical verification of buildings, the MC found that Rs 35 lakh (for 1 year) and approximately Rs 3 to 4 crore (as per past eight years) property tax was pending with several SCOs in Ranjit Avenue, hospitals, restaurants and showrooms.
Sharma claimed that the MC officials are not scrutinising commercial buildings properly and collecting the tax as per their self-declaration. “If the MC starts physical verification and scrutinises the returns of all commercial buildings in the city, they would collect Rs 100 crore easily. These funds can change the face of the city,” said Sharma.