Property tax defaulters will soon wake up to the sound of drum beats outside their homes.
Unable to make owners pay, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has decided to shame defaulters by hiring drummers to play outside their homes, so their entire neighbourhood knows.
At the standing committee meeting of the civic body on Tuesday, BN Singh, assessor and collector, said they had no other option but to revert to the traditional method of ‘drum beating’ to recover taxes.
“Earlier too, these procedures were used to collect taxes but they were discontinued. We will go back to the traditional method of shaming tax defaulters,” he said.
The move comes after the corporation witnessed a decline in tax collection in the last financial year. While in 2010-2011, tax collection was Rs322 crore, in 2011-2012 it went down to Rs 313 crore. Similarly, the number of tax payers came down from 4.42 lakh to 4.24 lakh.
In the current financial quarter, April to August, the corporation, however, collected Rs 299 crore. In the same quarter last year, it had collected Rs 266 crore. The hike, according to South Corporation, is not sufficient as there are lakhs of property owners who are not paying taxes.
The standing committee also discussed other ways to augment the income from property tax as it is the biggest source of revenue for the civic body.
Apart from drum beating, the corporation has also decided to look for the biggest defaulters and seize their properties for auctioning.
In the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the body had identified 12 properties for the auctioning but after the trifurcation, the South Corporation has started afresh. “We will be identifying properties that have not paid taxes for years and owe more than R5 lakh to the corporation,” said Rajesh Gehlot, chairman, standing committee.