Demonetisation: Property tax defaulters fall in line to pay up

Updated: Nov 12, 2016, 09:14 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh and Faisal Tandel

After civic bodies announce that they’ll accept banned notes, people in Pune, Thane, etc line up to pay dues

People queue up at the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation office to pay property tax as (left) civic commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar and PRO and assistant municipal commissioner Yuvraj Badane look on. Pic/Navneet Barhate
People queue up at the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation office to pay property tax as (left) civic commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar and PRO and assistant municipal commissioner Yuvraj Badane look on. Pic/Navneet Barhate

PM Narendra Modi’s decision to discontinue Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has boosted the revenue of many civic bodies in Maharashtra.

Property tax defaulters from Pune, Thane, Ulhasnagar and other municipal corporations were seen forming queues to pay the dues — not out of any sense of responsibility though, but to get rid of the banned currency.

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) collected over Rs 20 crore, while Thane Municipal Corporation’s (TMC’s) stood at Rs 13.37 crore and Ulhasnagar’s Rs 7.50 crore.

And the coffers fill up
Up until now the civic bodies had to chase citizens for recovery of dues. The PMC had even started a drive called ‘Band Bajao’ — band troupes would be sent to people’s homes to play — in a bid to shame people into paying up, but even that had not the kind of impact that the demonetisation has had. It recovered Rs 25 crore in 10 hours.

Around 7 am, queues were seen outside the PMC; 200-odd employees were deployed to handle that.

Officials happy
Suhas Mapari, head of the property tax department of PMC, said, “From 8 am, our team started taking the money and within three hours around R5 crore were collected. Most dues were of this year, but there was a substantial amount from the last five years as well.”

“We had decided to keep the counters open till Friday midnight, hoping that by morning we would have netted Rs 20 crore, but we managed to get that amount in 10 hours after starting collection. It will increase,” he added.

“And if anyone tries to give us fake notes, we have kept machines to verify the same. We actually did come across a few fake notes, we returned them to citizens.”

Till 6 pm, 7,327 citizens has paid cash, all amounting to Rs 20.37 crore, 511 had given cheque (Rs 2.90 crore), and eight had paid via DD, which totalled to Rs 14 crore.

Closer home...
The TMC had collected Rs 13.37 crore till 8.30 pm on Friday. “We have 10 wards and the tax collection will go on till 12 am. So, we expect the amount to rise by a crore or two at the very least,” said Sandeep Malvi, public relations officer (PRO), TMC.

The PRO of Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) said, “There has been a huge queue outside our office. We expect collections to rise by Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 crore.” The KDMC had collected around Rs 9.17 crore till 8.30 pm on Friday.

The Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC), till 6 pm, had collected R7.50 crore. “We had been approaching people for over a month, but no one bothered. After the currency ban, everyone’s paying up. This means that people had cash stashed at their homes,” said UMC commissioner Rajendra Nimbalkar.

“Ultimately, all this money will benefit the corporation and be useful for the city’s development.”

Rs 7.5 cr
The tax PMC collected till October

Rs 1,400 cr
The property tax that PMC needs to recover this fiscal

Water activist Amla Ruia speaks to mid-day

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