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Tax hits homes hard

Had Satish Bahadur (73) settled in posh Sunder Nagar of central Delhi instead of New Delhi’s Bengali Market, he would have saved nearly Rs 3.5 lakh as property tax in the past six years, reports Neelam Pandey.

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2009 01:31 IST
Neelam Pandey

Had Satish Bahadur (73) settled in posh Sunder Nagar of central Delhi instead of New Delhi’s Bengali Market, he would have saved nearly Rs 3.5 lakh as property tax in the past six years. The residents of areas falling under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) are an unhappy lot.

That’s because they pay much higher property tax than their neighbours in Sunder Nagar, 3.9 km away from Bengali Market, who are under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). The MCD, by the way, is the second-largest civic body in the world. The top honour goes to the civic agency of Tokyo, Japan’s capital.

While both the civic agencies are collecting tax under the unit area method — which is levied on the covered

area of the property, both have different unit area values for tax determination.

NDMC switched over to the unit area method of taxation this year.

“We were happy that the unit area method of taxation was introduced,” said Bahadur, adding the joy was short-lived.

However, the method NDMC has proposed is very different from the successful model implemented by the MCD five years back, he added.

“For areas under the MCD posh areas come under A-category. They pay Rs 630 per square metre. But all NDMC areas pay Rs 1,000 per square metres as property tax,” said Bahadur.

While he will have to pay Rs 78,000 as property tax for his second-floor flat, a premises of similar proportions in Sunder Nagar would be taxed only Rs 17,136, he said.

“If Delhi is one city, it should have a single tax structure. I’m a retired person and can’t pay such high property tax,” he said, adding the NDMC wasn’t even giving him a 30 per cent rebate, like MCD does for senior citizens.

“We feel cheated. If nothing is done I will be forced to sell off my property,” Bahadur added.

Many other residents are also contemplating selling their properties and moving to other areas.

“My husband died 19 years ago and I will be retiring in 2011. How can I pay such high taxes?” asked resident Sarita Prabhat.

“We are being forced to take the drastic step of selling our properties,” she added.

The civic agency, however, claims there are a number of residents who will have to pay lesser tax than what they were paying earlier.

“Whenever a new system is introduced there are bound to be some problems. Naturally those who have been adversely affected are coming forward but those who have benefited from it have not,” said a senior NDMC official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

A sizeable population of the area consists of senior citizens who don’t have provision of pension and stay alone.

“I’m a widow and I don’t have any other source of income. I can’t pay such high property tax,” said 77-year-old Manjul Balkrishan, who lives alone.