Charmed by Gandhigiri, bole to style, the Patna Municipal Corporation has come up with an indigenous method — engaging eunuchs and musicians, with policemen in toe, to collect tax the non-violent way.
The PMC mandarins are obviously impressed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Lage Raho Munnabhai. For, they believe that if the street-savvy taporis like Murli Prasad Sharma (Munna Bhai) and Circuit could impress a stonehearted Lucky Singh, there is no reason why their brand of tax collectors cannot do it in the capital having many more ferocious Lucky Singhs!
Beginning Tuesday, the PMC began sending out musical troupes of 3-5 singers with drums to collect holding and municipal tax from chronic defaulters in Kankerbagh. While PMC Commissioner Atul Prasad could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, a PMC officer said, "Going by the reputation and persuasive skills of eunuchs, we are confident they will be able to recover outstanding dues."
He further said, "Most civilised defaulters are ashamed to find eunuchs at their doorstep with drums and other musical instruments to collect tax. Since eunuchs are conspicuous by their appearance and body language, it becomes embarrassing for defaulters, as their neighbours also get to know about the former not having paid tax to the PMC. To get rid of these eunuchs, who have the habit to hang around until paid money, we expect the defaulters to pay up."
Asked what would the PMC give in return to their 'brand ambassadors', the officer said, "We might give them up to 4 per cent commission, just like we pay private parties engaged in this task."
As things stand, the PMC lags behind in revenue collection. Against an annual target of Rs 70-odd crore, the PMC has so far collected only a few crores, its last month's collection being a paltry Rs 60 lakh (approximately).