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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Property tax: Citizens demand public hearing

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 01, 2011
First Published: 00:51 IST(1/1/2011) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(1/1/2011)

Representatives of over 50 citizens’ groups have demanded a public hearing on the civic body’s move to impose the new capital-value based property tax system. The Hindustan Times has been reporting how citizens have expressed dissatisfaction over the new system, terming the civic body’s action ‘arbitrary’.

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The new property tax will be calculated on the basis of the current market value of the property based on five factors – price, area, age, and type of property. Currently, citizens are charged as per the rental value of their property.

Criticising the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not taking public views into account, except inviting token suggestions, these groups will be writing letters to all 227 corporators in the city, asking them to raise the issue at the civic general body meeting.

Rajkumar Sharma, a Chembur-based activist, said, “We plan to reach out to every corporator in the city and tell them about our problems with the new property tax system. We will also be writing to the civic standing committee

and urging them to keep the common man in mind, before giving the final nod to the new system.”

H-West ward federation chairperson, Anandini Thakoor, said the association would be meeting every corporator of the H-West ward on Saturday to urge them to protest against the new system. “We need our political representatives to air citizens’ grievances,” she said.

Citizens have also demanded a public hearing on the issue along with BMC officials and corporators.

“Firstly, the BMC only invited suggestions and objections, but there was no transparency in what their response was. Even the three-member committee, which was supposed to study our objections, did not bother to call us for a hearing,” Sharma said.

Citizens have now formed a core group, which is in the process of planning a strategy for the protest ahead.

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