Musical bands are known to liven up wedding processions, but the civic body is planning to employ them to put a damper on property tax defaulters. Hoping that tax dodgers would buckle under the discomfiture of a live band playing in front of their homes and cough up the dues, the PMC is contemplating using this musical modus operandi to embarrass property tax defaulters.
With all other methods — sending letters, notices and publishing names in newspapers — to recover arrears bearing no fruits, the civic body is deciding to employ this novel idea. The process to select the band is, however, in progress.
According to a senior civic official from the tax department, the procedure will start soon. “We are in the process of floating a tender for the band. A small group of musicians will go to the residence of the defaulter and play music to convey the message to pay their outstanding taxes,” said the official, on condition of anonymity.
The official said the decision had been taken keeping in view the unsatisfactory recovery of property tax. “Our department has used several ways to collect tax from defaulters, but the response has been bad. Usually, we send them a notice of action but many overlook it. Recently, we took to pasting notices at their residential premises so that they feel awkward and pay the dues. A few did make the payment, but many haven’t,” said the official.
The assistant tax collector confirmed the news, but refrained from providing elaborate information about the same. He said, “We were also thinking about publishing the defaulters name in newspapers, but considering the feasibility we might not take this approach. Playing music will definitely work, as people are conscious of their image in society. This ploy would help recover money swiftly.”
Hemant Nikam, deputy commissioner and head of PMC’s tax collection department said, “It’s in the process and nothing can be revealed right now.”
For the financial year 2012, till Feb 13, PMC succeeded in recovering property tax to the tune of Rs 560 crore. But, crores of rupees are still to be paid by defaulters. Recently, the PMC attached a few properties, as owners did not pay the dues. There are around six lakh residential properties and 75,000 non-residential properties, out of which 24,000 are open plots.