The implementation of the new capital value-based property tax system is likely to get delayed.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may not be able to map 1.2 lakh properties in the city using the Geographic Information System (GIS) after former additional municipal commissioner Ashish Kumar Singh expressed reservations about the method. Mapping these properties using GIS was a prerequisite for implementing the new property tax system in which tax will be calculated on the property’s Ready Reckoner rates.
Singh, who was transferred to the chief minister’s office last week, had questioned the feasibility of the method, which involves a private contractor’s employees entering people’s homes and taking readings. “I had my doubts whether it was legally tenable to let unknown men enter houses and bedrooms of citizens to measure the area and hence asked for legal opinion,” Singh said.
The civic body will now have to send out its employees to measure these properties. “Our job would have been much easier had we been allowed to use GIS to map properties and digitise all our records,” a senior officer from the assessment and collection department said requesting anonymity.
A senior official, requesting anonymity, said Singh’s adverse remarks meant a death knell for the project. “Almost all senior officials have agreed with Singh and hence there is no scope for the project to be revived,” he said.
The tendering process for the GIS mapping has been complete. The BMC had planned to implement the capital-value based property tax system from March 2011 with retrospective effect from April 2010. For this, the civic body will need to have records of all properties ready by January 2011. “We are yet to work out how to measure these properties. One option is to allocate the properties ward-wise and instruct ward offices to depute staff to do the job,” a BMC official said.