Coming down on defaulters, the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation has sealed 61 mobile towers for non-payment of property tax.
Pic: Nimesh Dave
Municipal Commissioner of Aurangabad, Harshdeep Kamble said, "We gave ample time to mobile operators to pay tax but none came forward by the June 30 deadline, forcing us to take this step." The companies whose mobile towers were sealed include Reliance Communication, Tata Docomo, Vodafone, GTL, Hughes Communications, Airtel, Essar and Aircel. "When an ordinary mobile subscriber fails to pay bill by the stipulated date, these companies disconnect his service. However, in this case, we gave enough time for them to pay but instead they approached court, which asked them to deposit at least 50 per cent of the outstanding amount," the IAS official said.
"After our action against the mobile towers in the last two days, we have so far received Rs two crore of the total Rs nine crore outstanding payment from these companies. We expect to collect another three crores shortly," Kamble said. The civic body has also initiated action against illegal mobile towers in the historic city in Marathwada region. "I have asked the town planning department to submit a report of the towers erected sans permission of the municipal corporation," the senior bureaucrat said. There are 382 mobile towers in the municipal limits of which only 47 towers have been installed according to the norms of the municipal body, as per initial estimates.
The municipal commissioner said revenue receipts from payments by mobile operators would be used to fund various civic development works in Aurangabad. "We have undertaken many good projects like 24 7 water supply, costing around Rs 800 crore, underground drainage scheme costing Rs 465 crore. We are converting all city street lights, 42000 in number, to energy efficient LED lights. "We plan to spend Rs 100 crore for cement concrete roads. We certainly need the money. The municipal corporation will be definitely utilising this tax money for development of city thus directly benefiting the citizens," Kamble said. Companies paying tax would be exempted from penal action, the bureaucrat said.