They will sing, dance and clap in your face; they will make a noise outside your home — but only until you clear your tax dues.
Tired of chasing nearly 90,000 tax defaulters to recover Rs260 crore in overdue payments, the civic body at Ulhasnagar in Thane, a satellite town of Mumbai, has come up with a plan — hire eunuchs, known for being loud and persuasive — to get defaulters to pay up.
Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) chief Rajendra Nimbhalkar said the tax dues have been pending for over a decade, so when Rekha Thakur, a local corporator from the Nationalist Congress Party went to him with a group of eunuchs and suggested the civic body hires them to collect the money, Nimbalkar jumped at the idea.
“We have served notices to tax defaulters and have asked them to pay up within eight days. If they don’t, the eunuchs we hire will dance in front of their homes and force them to pay tax. We already have eight special teams working to recover the money and 100 officials serving notices to the defaulters,” Nimbalkar said.
The civic body plans to hire 15 eunuchs, who will be paid for their work. “The priority is to collect taxes. We will first use notices and reminders. Asking eunuchs to go to the defaulters’ homes is our last resort,” said Nimbalkar, adding, “Most people on our list earn well and make big profits. By law, they should pay up, but they are trying to evade.”
The civic body has set a Diwali deadline. “Hiring eunuchs is currently just an idea, we hope not to use them but if defaulters don’t settle their accounts by Diwali, we will be forced to employ them,” Nimbalkar said.
This is not the first time a civic corporation has resorted to out-of-the-box measures to recover tax dues. At the start of this year, the Thane civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal hired bands to play outside defaulters’ homes to shame them into paying up.