DON’T BE surprised if a private agency sleuth knocks at your door for House Tax collection. Inspired by the ‘men’ hired by private companies and banks for recovery of dues from defaulters, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) is planning to outsource its tax collection work to private companies in the city.
The proposal regarding the privatisation of the tax-collection process was discussed at a meeting between the officials of the LMC Tax Department and Municipal Commissioner on Thursday.
The LMC officials are preparing a comprehensive plan for approval by the government so that defaulters sitting on ‘LMC rupees’ can be dealt with.
Municipal Commissioner Ram Bodh Maurya has not been happy with poor tax recovery from big defaulters which include some Government departments and influential people like senior bureaucrats and politicians.
About Rs 20 crore is still to be recovered and the LMC staff is unable to make much headway. Often, the LMC Tax Inspectors have to retreat from pestering defaulters because of the latter’s ‘top connections’.
The LMC Tax Department officials blame the huge tax pendency on interference by the bureaucracy and pressure exercised by the high-profile politicians, besides the lack of proper staff. “We have only 81 tax inspectors, two tax superintendents and two assistant tax superintendents for the 110 wards of the city which has more than five lakh houses. These 81 tax inspectors are supposed to knock at the doors of every house for tax collection besides performing other duties like population counting, preparation of caste data, duties during elections etc,” said an official of the LMC Tax Department on condition of anonymity.
The Municipal chief, after hearing these woes, proposed that the collection work be outsourced. “ This is the only way to clear our dues. We cannot leave our money with them any more. We have to set things right or our budget will collapse,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner AC Sinha, adding that, “It’s just a proposal and only after government approval we will decide which agency to enlist.”
He also said, “A list of defaulters holding back more than Rs 10,000 is being prepared. We are also preparing the list of those residents who have a habit of disturbing our work by taking the matter to court and delaying work.”