Nagpur News: Yet another scam relating illegal plan of officials to rob Nagpur Municipal Corporations off its large scale revenue has surfaced after the Radisson Blu blot. A large number of food joints have cropped up at Futala lake and surprisingly none has paid any property tax since the past three years. The reason lies in the ignorance, say deliberate attempt, of NMC and NIT authorities who notoriously skipped assessment of taxes for these outlets. Even the number of kiosks being run alarmingly jumps the permitted number of 20 kiosks. Sell Ads, the company responsible for development of kiosks at Futala Lake has brazenly violated the agreed cap on the number of kiosks and came up with five times more kiosks at the spot.
On Monday itself, Nagpur Today has reported how the 5 star commercial property Radisson Blu has been put under residential tax purview.
Meanwhile, the President of Brashtachar Virodhi Janmat Sanjay Agrawal in a pointed poser charged the Property Tax Department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) with criminal neglect in recovering Property Tax from shops and establishments in the surrounding premises of Futala Lake.
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation is already reeling under a severe revenue crunch post Local Body Tax (LBT) which replaced Octroi, steep fall in property tax collection due to non-assessment of hundreds of properties at the revised rates, and moreover non-payment of property tax by large numbers of flat owners, small and big establishments. However, the NMC is being starved for revenue by none other than its own employees who allegedly devour big share by various dubious means. Instead of giving it to the coffers of NMC they are amassing heaps and heaps of bounty for themselves.
The President of Brashtachar Virodhi Janmat Sanjay Agrawal said, the Nagpur Improvement Trust had given the said contract to Nagpur-based Sell Ads Company on February 17, 2010. Accordingly, the company was permitted to erect 20 food kiosks. And in return, the contractor would pay Rs 16,27,004 in the first year, Rs 17,89,704 in the second year, Rs 19,68,675 in the third year, Rs 21,65,542 in the fourth year and Rs 23,82,097 payment of rent to NIT in the fifth year according to terms and conditions of the agreement.
However, the contractor jumped the agreement for 20 food kiosks, and erected large number of them and rented them to various companies. Even then the contractor did not stop constructing illegal structures and gobbled up the parking place, too, by erecting food kiosks or other stalls. Now, the company is recovering rents from them also. Looking into the present state of affairs, one can certainly charge the connivance of NIT bosses with the Sell Ads Company. Without the connivance, no company or contractor, dare to violate the terms and conditions of the agreement with impunity, Sanjay Agrawal asserted.
Sanjay Agrawal further elaborated that according to information provided by NMC’s Property Tax Department, they have sought copies of the agreement between the NIT and the Sell Ads Company. After receiving the copies, the assessment of Property Tax would be done and further action will be initiated. However, the picture has not yet changed.
Contractor playing smart
According to sources, the contractor has been recovering rents from food kiosks but not paying service tax (12.5 per cent). If the concerned department takes action then the tax with interest penalty could be recovered. If the NMC recovers the Property Tax then it would be recovered at the commercial rate along with additional 40 per cent water tax if the NMC water is not being received by the food kiosks.
In another hazardous development, the contractor has installed toys for children very near to Futala Lake shores thus inviting a tragedy. The contractor has also failed to make any safety provisions in the event of a fire and even has not permission from Fire Brigade authorities.