60% bigwigs in SCB pay up property tax
The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) had issued red notices to 500 property owners (residential as well as commercial) who had dues of Rs 50,000 and above. Much to the pleasure of the SCB officials, more than 60 per cent of the defaulters paid up in the last few days. The target for 2014-15 is Rs 40 crore of which the SCB has collected Rs 22 crore as on Thursday.
The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) had issued red notices to 500 property owners (residential as well as commercial) who had dues of Rs 50,000 and above. Much to the pleasure of the SCB officials, more than 60 per cent of the defaulters paid up in the last few days. The target for 2014-15 is Rs 40 crore of which the SCB has collected Rs 22 crore as on Thursday. A senior official said that the daily announcement in residential areas and locals spreading the message by word of mouth is paying dividends.
- 60 per cent of the 500 residential and commercial establishments defaulted on property tax above Rs 50,000 have paid up
- The triennial tax assessment notice has been served to over 23,000 property owners including 3000 commercial establishments
- Residents in slum areas are not touched
- 10,000 hearings completed since Feb 25. People can approach SCB to clear their doubts
- The revision if for 2012-15 block period and not retrospective
- Property Tax would also be collected on general holidays and on Sundays till the month of March
The SCB served 20,000 notices and also informed people about the property tax revision in the form of triennial assessment. The percentage of increase for some properties is as high as 1,000 per cent. Interestingly, the response to the property tax collection is satisfactory. The SCB has been conducting hearing since February 25 and till date 10,000 hearings have been conducted satisfactorily. In some extraordinary cases, the tax was reduced by 40 per cent to widows and senior citizens.
SCB Chief Executive Officer Sujatha Gupta said that genuine cases would be given a hearing. The general public were given a chance to submit their objections on the triennial revision.” The board announced a revised triennial assessment between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2015 for both residential and commercial properties and sent 23,000 notices in all but the revision has not gone down well with the residents.
Suresh of Krupa Sagar apartment in West Marredpally says, “The board was supposed to revise the rates every three years but it has been done after almost two decades. There are few who are paying next to nothing but some have to pay in thousands. The SCB claims that they have followed the GHMC rates but there are several discrepancies.” A senior tax collector said that the lowest rate of Rs 1.80 per sft of GHMC rate card was taken for some areas and Rs 1.40 per sft for Lothukunta and Bolarum is fixed.”
The revision rates differ from 400 to 600 to 1000 per cent due to assessments made in different points of time. A senior official of SCB said that the Begumpet Airport owes Rs 10 crore and once they pay up, the target of Rs 40 crore could be easily achieved.
Residents question the revision
Even as the SCB officials are busy collecting taxes, residents are raising their voice against the raise in property hike. Surya Sainath, a resident of West Marredpally says, “There is no clarity in the revision. In the past, the rates were given by Defence Estates based on land value plus built up area.
The last time the revision was done was in 1989. There are a lot of discrepancies. The facilities in the cantonment are nowhere close to GHMC so on what basis does the SCB decide GHMC rates?” Another irate resident was heard arguing with a tax collector while paying the tax. When the lady was questioned by the staff as to why she did not pay the tax for the last few years she asked him why the board did not send the bills all these years.
BT. Srinivasan, general secretary, United Federation of Resident’s Welfare Association (UFREWA) said, “The rates were fixed without a proper survey. The property tax surveyors were managed by the bigwigs but the ones without political clout are suffering. The people were not given information on the calculation of sft. In the GHMC, the rates are decided based on the area, in prime areas, the rates are different.”
By:T P Venu