In a populist move aimed at pleasing their voters ahead of the upcoming general elections, the Shiv Sena wants the new property tax norms skirted for buildings undergoing redevelopment in the city.
Nearly 19,000 homes being redeveloped should not be charged property tax under the new capital value system, and instead should be charged under the earlier formula, suggested Sena leader Subhash Desai during his meeting with the chief minister.
Desai, Sena’s leader in the Assembly, met with the chief minister on Wednesday, asking him to consider the proposal that flats measuring 500 sq-ft and less should not be charged property tax based on the new rules, stating that they should be given the option to pay property tax based on the old method.
“Our demand is that all buildings undergoing redevelopment or waiting to do so, and residents of flats measuring 500 sq-ft or less than that should be charged by the BMC at the ratable value and not the market value. We have asked the chief minister to look into it,” said Desai.
He further added, “This would benefit residents of 19,000 buildings which are undergoing redevelopment and the chief minister’s approach towards our demand was sympathetic. He assured us that he would talk to the bureaucrats and get the matter resolved.”
The new method to calculate tax came into effect in March, and the ruling party in the civic body had not opposed the introduction of the new taxation system then. At present, the BMC calculates tax as per the ready reckoner rates of properties, and in the old method it was computed on the ratable value of a property.
Sena’s demand is that the property tax for newly redeveloped buildings should be charged on the ratable area, which means the property tax should be charged to flat residents based on the value of the building when it was constructed. For instance, a building constructed in 1940 with land value of Rs 2 lakh should be calculated on that value and not the current market value.
“With elections round the corner, and redevelopment taking place in Vile Parle (E), Girgaum, Parel, Sewri and other prominent Marathi-populated belts, this is nothing but a populist demand by the party,” said a senior BMC official, on condition of anonymity.