Rajamahendravaram: Pandemic hits tax collection in East Godavari; municipalities miss targets
Dwindling income of people is said to be a major reason for the poor collection
Rajamahendravaram: Even as the State government has started tightening its noose on property tax defaulters, the municipal bodies of East Godavari district lagged behind in meeting the tax collection targets during the first half of the current financial year.
According to sources, the impact of Covid -19 is likely to be felt in the collection of property and water taxes and more than 60 per cent should be collected in order to meet the target. In view of the impending threat of the third wave and reduction in the salaries, people are not coming forward to pay the taxes.
There are 11 municipalities including two Municipal Corporations Kakinada and Rajamahendravaram in the district. Samalkot , Peddapuram, Amalapuram, Pithapuram, Mandapeta, Tuni, Eleswaram, Gollaprolu and Mummidivaram are the municipalities .
After the painful pandemic and then escalating prices of electricity and hiked property tax actually broke the back of the lower and middle class people.
Instead of lightening the financial burden in this crucial time the government caused panic and gave the most difficult time in terms of property tax and costly electricity to the people. While the government is giving freebies in the form of money to the weaker section of the people with no productive value, the middle class is harassed and subjected to heavy payments particularly on electricity bills and property tax.
Kakinada Municipal Corporation Deputy Commissioner Ch. Satyanarayana Rao told "The Hans India" that out of 34 crore they have collected 18 crore is the property tax only. He said that with regard to water tax out of 12 crore they have collected only Rs 6 crore so far. He stated that they would complete the assigned task of collecting the taxes within the stipulated time.
Many of the house owners are paying the taxes without grumbling, he claimed. He also stated that there is no connection between payment of tax and Covid -19. He said that after completing the financial year they will complete their target easily. He said that in the previous year 2019-20 they collected the property tax of Rs 34 crore. But, the municipal authorities are assuring that they would collect all taxes and fulfill the targets.
Rajamahendravaram Municipal Corporation has managed to collect only Rs 20 crore property tax against the set target of Rs 36.94 crore in the first six months of this financial year. RMC had set a target of Rs Rs 8.84 crore water tax. But it could collect Rs. 3.78 crore only. It has to collect property tax and water tax arrears of Rs 21 crore. Amalapuram Municipality has collected Rs 2.22 crore property tax against the target of Rs 4.61 crore. According to data, total property tax and water tax to be collected from 11 municipalities is Rs 139.16 crore. The municipal staff has collected Rs 55.61 crore during the first six months.
A housewife, Vadrevu Tirumala Venkata Laxmi, said that in the wake of Covid -19 they are unable to pay house tax and current bills as their income decreased. Due to Covid -19, they have not been receiving full salaries for the last one year. They are paid only 30 per cent of the salary and they are finding it difficult to eke out their livelihood within this marginal income. Now I am not in a position either to pay the property or water tax and any other taxes.
Hence people belonging to lower and middle income groups fervently appeal to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to consider weaving or postponement of the payment of electricity bills as well as house tax.
Municipal RJD NVV Satyanarayana Murthy said we are taking all possible measures to speed up the collection of taxes in eleven civic bodies. Satyanarayana said that the targets have been fixed for the municipal staff and urban secretariat to collect the taxes. A special drive would be taken up soon with a multi pronged strategy and we would improve the revenues. Meanwhile, the second wave of covid and slow down of economy also said to be reasons for the average collections of revenues.