In light of the MCD sealing the Inderlok Metro Mall and threatening to take action against some other such Metro malls, the DMRC has warned that commuters will have to bear the brunt of the sealing.
Commercial activities at the mall contributed nearly 25 per cent of the revenue earned by the Metro, said officials, adding that if the MCD continued its drive, the DMRC would be forced to raise its fares.
“Property development activities are our alternative sources of revenue. Without this, Metro fares will go up, causing hardship to the public,” said a senior DMRC official.
The officials claimed the sealing drive would also affect the DMRC’s expansion plans. “We will have no choice but to stall such plans. If we don’t have the money, how can we construct? We will ask the government for a bail-out,” he added.
Property tax issue
After the sealing, the MCD plans to issue property tax notices to the DMRC which will be payable immediately.
“They owe us more than Rs 200 crore as property tax. We have been trying to settle this issue amicably but they haven’t responded. We are going to issue them property tax notices and if they don’t pay up, we will freeze their account,” said a senior MCD official.
Officials say, as per a High Court order, while the DMRC does not need to pay commercial tax for the operational part of Metro stations, it has to pay taxes for its commercial ventures, which it has not done so far despite repeated reminders.
“The DMRC is supposed to pay property tax at a commercial rate for shops and other commercial ventures. They need to pay us at least Rs 15-20 crore as property tax every year,” added the official.
DMRC officials claimed that they did not have to pay property tax under the Operation and Maintenance Act, 2002.
“There are specific Supreme Court orders that such disputes (sealing of malls) should be sorted out administratively between the departments and this MCD action is unjustified,” added the DMRC official.