The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to crack down on errant builders, who have been usurping residents’ money on the pretext of paying property tax dues. It is now planning to put up names of all such builders on its website to ensure public embarrassment. This isn’t all, the civic body may also issue stop-work notices to all ongoing projects of builders who have cheated residents.
This comes after the State government recently announced its plans to make it compulsory for builders to pay three years’ property tax in advance, before granting them approval.
The BMC is contemplating these steps after discovering numerous cases where the builder, after handing over the properties, kept collecting money from residents purportedly to pay the property tax dues. Said a civic official from the assessment and collection department: “These residents were unaware that the builder has not been paying the BMC. When we slapped notices on them, they were shell-shocked, because all their money had gone down the drain.”
The civic body had detected these cases in a massive drive conducted to improve property tax collections. As a part of the drive, it has attached 533 properties across the city, where the total pending dues are Rs95.22 crore.
For instance, civic officials received cases where the builder had usurped more than Rs2 crore over the years, without paying the BMC at all. In one case in the western suburbs, the citizens had not even formed a society for almost eight years, till they received the BMC’s notice a few months back.
Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said: “We are planning to take a number of steps to make citizens aware of these pending dues. To begin with, we will publish the names of such builders who are heavy defaulters on our website.”
A senior civic official from the assessment and collection department said: “We are also contemplating slapping stop-work notices on all properties of such builders.”