Congress, BJP question BMC on dipping financial situation
The training is expected to begin from April which will be given to the officers in the department.
The Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party might be in opposition but are together on questioning the BMC administration over its dipping financial situation. The corporators of both the party wanted to understand BMC's plans to implement big road projects with no recovery of property tax till December. The BMC has so far just managed to recover a meagre amount of Rs 1800 crore whereas the target was to earn about Rs5000 crore from the property tax by end of the Financial year 2019-2020. Further, the civic body is set to lose another Rs 335 crore of its expected revenue as no bills have been sent to 1.37 lakh properties which are below 500 square feet.
While discussing the proposal of giving early bird discount to about 91000 property holder that will be sent out property tax bills from which the BMC is likely to recover Rs 1358 crore, corporators pointed out on what happens to those properties that are below 500 square feet. The proposal which was approved by the Shiv Sena led Standing committee will give a discount of 4 per cent to those who pay before January 31 and of 2 per cent to those who pay before February 29.
Asif Zakaria of Congress, said, "There is no clarity over what happens to the residents staying in 500 square feet houses and below, as the previous government had just waived off the General Tax component of the Property Tax and not the entire tax. But owing to demands, the BMC stopped sending bills to these 500 sq feet house owners/occupiers, now will the new bills be given to such houses as well? With this confusion and delay in sending out bills, BMC is losing out on the revenue itself which is causing the BMC a financial dearth and projects are in turn affected."
Further raising the similar issue, BJP corporator, Prabhakar Shinde, said, "How is the BMC going to recover or balance the loss that is going to be caused by holding back bills of 1.37 lakh property owners. The BMC is already mulling over a crisis like situation as it has not even recovered enough revenue till December and many projects are still pending." However, interestingly this is the same party who had demanded a tax waiver for houses below 700 square feet, which was to cause a dent in BMC's pockets.
Sangeeta Hasnale, the assistant municipal commissioner of Accessor and Collector department of BMC, said, "The shortfall was because the staff was involved with election duties but the recovery has sped up now. We are not sending out any property tax bills to 500 sq ft and below properties which are about 1.37 lakh as there is still no clarity." However, there was no clarity on how will the loss of Rs 335 crore be balanced in the standing committee meeting.
Meanwhile, to ensure that there is enough recovery by the BMC officials, the department will be appointing experts to train its staff to handle system crash which affects the routine work of the BMC. The training is expected to begin from April which will be given to the officers in the department.
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