Nagpur News: “More harm was done in the 20th century by faceless bureaucrats than tyrant dictators.”
“You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing.”
A total of Rs 36,43,99,563 of water tax has remained unpaid, thanks to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s deliberate ignorance in recovering the tax from the mega yet influential defaulters in the city. Prominent defaulters include KSL and Industries Ltd, Empress Mills, Maharashtra Textiles which owe the whopping due of Rs 5,57,94,997, MSRTC (Rs 4,27,10,781) and Ramdeobaba Kamala Nehru College (Rs 1,79,59,131) run by ace politician Banwarilal Purohit. While the private properties constitute the majority of non-payers, the government departments too are not far behind.
Rs 6,55,17,757 of water tax has not been paid by various Government departments.
The defaulters range in the bracket of Rs 50,000 to Rs 5,00,00,00.
However, when it comes to common citizens, the NMC turn aggressive in recovery but it blatantly turned blind eye towards the big defaulters causing a big hole in its revenue pocket.
Citizens are of the view that the Nagpur Municipal Commissioner Shyam Wardhane, an IAS bureaucrat to the core fits the bill of a peculiar Government babu. His working style is like “shouting from a roof top for any measure he initiates for the good of citizens or NMC itself.” But in reality, it is a publicity stunt.
When the NMC top boss finds himself in a mess over some crucial issues like very poor collection of various taxes, he, again resorts to a publicity stunt, by calling a meeting of concerned authorities, and gives a dressing down to them. He “warns” authorities of “stern” action if the targets of tax collections are not achieved. However, the NMC Commissioner himself is found “blessing, sparing, turning “blind” towards evasion of taxes by top guns in every possible field.
NMC’s reluctance in sharing information
A Corporator got the bitter taste of NMC Commissioner’s style of working. The Corporator Sandeep Prahlad Sahare had sought information under Right to Information on the list of bigwigs who had, and have been evading water tax in crores since past several years. But NMC diligently cornered his application despite repeated requests. Sahare had decided to move High Court with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) once he receives a formal communication from the NMC Commissioner. The PIL was supposed to be filed for naming the bigwigs who had and have been evading water tax, the amount of unpaid tax, recovery with penalty, and other related matters. However, Sahare’s plan went in limbo as he did not receive a single word from the Commissioner. This dubious episode stands at March, 2013 status.
From Malls to Hospitals…list is endless
However, Sahare had submitted a memorandum to Mayor Anil Sole in July 2012, with a list of whales and big fishes (Top businessmen, politicians and other bigwigs), unpaid tax amounts attached to the memorandum. The information Sahare had received was under the Right to Information in July, 2012. The information concerned to only six zones out of ten zones. The information Sahare received mentioned unpaid water tax to the tune of Rs 36,43,99,563 from private holders, and Rs 6,55,17,757 pending water tax amount from various Government Departments. The evaders include malls, hotels, hospitals, apartments, Government offices and others who have not paid water tax ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs. 5,00,00,000.
Notice falls on deaf ears; officials crosshanded
Even though the Water Works Department issued notices to defaulting parties giving ultimatums to pay the tax, neither the defaulting parties paid the water tax nor NMC initiated any action even after lapse of period of months together, said Sahare after noticing poor state of affairs.The NMC could have been spared of “begging” to the banks for loans for implementing development works had the Water Works Department recovered the water tax from big fishes, and whales, too, Sahare asserted.
Contract to OCW under suspicion
The “manners” the contract for water supply to Nagpur city given to Orange City Water Company should be investigated by a high-level agency, demanded Sahare. Moreover, even though the water supply contract has been given to a private contractor, the NMC employees are still working in Water Works Department. A disturbing aspect could be derived from the picture that the NMC employees are working for a private company which is illegal and a serious matter, Sahare said. Crores of rupees as water tax have not been recovered. Now, the question arises: Who is responsible for this very very grave lapse? What action the NMC would take against the guilty officials? The answers to thses questions must be given by the top NMC bosses.
Nagpur Today provides here the detailed list of major water tax defaulters.