IT appears that officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) tax department cannot distinguish between Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and commercial establishments.
It has been learnt that the newly constructed hospital building of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) at Ved Bhavan near Chandani Chowk on Paud Road was taxed exorbitantly by the PMC.
In order to run the hospital, the FPAI paid tax worth Rs 11.51 lakh tax under various heads to the civic body. But the NGO will now have to pay additional Rs 1.25 lakh as annual property tax, levied by the PMC on commercial establishments.
Operating as a NGO since 1947, the FPAI is working in the field of sexual and reproductive health, including family planning and child health, and HIV/AIDS for poor and needy persons. FPAI performs legal Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) and conducts tubectomy for free.
FPAI president for Pune, Dr Sanjay Gavhane, said, “We are providing free of cost services to the poorest of poor in the district, especially in Mulshi and Maval taluka. The Ved Bhawan Hospital has a staff of 10 with a facility of an operation theatre, constructed on a total area of 6,000 square feet.”
He added, “Instead of waiving off taxes, the PMC compelled us to pay them under development charges, road NOC, water supply NOC, drainage NOC and fire NOC. In addition, they had also levied an annual tax of Rs 1.25 lakh as property tax as per commercial rates.”
He added despite various reminders and several personal visits to the PMC office, the issue remains unresolved. “The PMC authorities know rules and norms for NGO working in the field of health and family planning. It is strange that we get funding from foreign-based organisation and pay our people in the name of commercial taxes,” Gavhane said.
Commenting on the issue, Shyamala Desai, FPAI secretary for Pune, said it is strange of the PMC to charge them property tax as the unit is yet to operate formally.
“To ensure that our hospital unit starts as early as possible, we paid the PMC Rs 11.51 lakh without any delay. We are still uncertain whether to pay taxes as per commercial or non-commercial rate to the civic body,” Desai said.