Even as NMC has accelerated its drive to recover property tax and subsequent action against the defaulters which amounts to seizure of assets, a startling revelation has brought up murky picture of the civic body. It has come to the fore that NMC does not even have proper records of tax payers, be it on papers or online. This irregularity has hinted a fund twisting in the property tax department through wrong means. This is in clear violation of Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, which makes it mandatory for property tax department to keep the assessment book updated with every possible detail entered into it. However the process has not yet brought into practice by the NMC. As per the rules, the property tax boards should also be formed at municipal level which too is far from existence.
Claiming such brazen irregularities on the part of NMC, Shankar Gulani, Secretary of NMC House Taxpayers Redressal Committee, said the civic administration does not even have ledger records of many of those who have paid the taxes, leave aside maintaining the online data. Since NMC does not have proper records of more than half of the tax payers, the concerned officers are sending demands on their own whims. There has been a significant rise in the number of such cases, he added.
It has been noticed that NMC has been recently gripped the negatives in the light of allegation of sending inflated property tax demands to the people. “Even the period, for which the tax was already paid, is being included in the revised bill. This has created a complete chaos in the NMC’s internal activities pointing to misappropriation of funds to the tune of crores of rupees,” Gulani added.
Citing a case of a Kushi Nagar resident Vinayak Shastri, Gulani revealed that Shastri had paid entire property tax due on him for the period between 2006 and 2013. Despite that, he received a fresh bill in which the previous bill for the same period was also added. When he produced the old bills, the NMC failed to find any such records entered in its book. “This is not the lone case, but hordes of other tax payers in various zones are facing similar lackadaisical attitude of property tax department. It appears that a major scam is in the making,” he asserted.
He said when the aggrieved citizens reach the concerned department, highlighting the glitch, they are asked for copies of old bill, which could not be produced in most of the cases. However, in the absence of records on both the sides, the tax payer has to haplessly take the short cut to get the adjustments done, he alleged.
Even those who are being asked the tax paid receipts, do not even have registered accounts in NMC. Taking cue from this void, few cases of recovery and tax payment on the basis of forged receipt have also come to the fore, Gulani pointed.
Shockingly, Gulani claimed, the senior officials do not have any knowledge on tax account format and related directives. When Nagpur Today asked the information regarding assessment of account from Aashi Nagar zone official, he tried to pass the buck, saying the information from 2011 to 2013 is with Mahal department.
Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( firstname.lastname@example.org )