Faced with a severe cash crunch due to below target recovery of various taxes the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) finally cracked the whip on the hitherto “untouchable” Lahoree Delux Beer Bar and Restaurant (Badi Lahoree) and snapped both the water connections of it for non-payment of water bills in lakhs. The high-profile action follows a ‘fatwa’ issued by Mayor and Municipal Commissioner to recover taxes on war-footing and bring the financial situation in order. The ‘fatwa’ created a flutter and forced the NMC Administration to cut water connections of the big shot Beer Bar that was till now escaping the action by hook or crook. Now, the only question is what strategy the civic body adopts to recover the huge pending water bill amount from the ‘heavyweight’ owner.
According to sources, the Lahoree Group of Beer Bars and Hotels is ‘famous’ for evading various taxes including Property Tax and Water Tax. The ‘terrorizing tactics’ and other ‘bountiful’ actions deter many officials and employees to any punitive action against the defaulting Lahoree Group. Interestingly, the identity of present owner of Lahoree Group is known to only a few privileged people. And those who know him know it very well that he has a very high reach in Government corridors and politicians as well. Any initiated action against this owner is later dumped in cold storage. The Group has till date not cleared the Property Tax dues in lakhs and the matter is going from one table to another table. The huge pending water tax is another story. However, the NMC babus seem to have gathered ‘courage’ and subsequently snapped both the water connections over a period, said the sources.
The Mayor and Municipal Commissioner have specifically directed the Property Tax Department and Water Tax Department that there should not be any soft corner while recovering the taxes. If any official or office-bearer puts hurdles then they should be dealt with sternly in accordance with rules and regulations. In the Lahoree case, a legislator and some higher-ups were allegedly putting hurdles and desisting action against the Group, said the sources.