Residents of Bandra reeling under the steep, new rates of non-agricultural (NA) tax can heave a sigh of relief as the suburban collector has allowed them pay according to old rates for the time being.
Suburban Collector Vishwas Patil also directed his staff to stop all coercive action and promised to take up the grievances of the residents with the state government.
“Residents can present a detailed list of grievances which I will forward to the state government. Until then they can pay according to the old rates,” Patil said on Tuesday.
He said that the state government would take the final call.
The non-agricultural tax is charged on land across Maharashtra (except koliwadas) on which agricultural activity does not take place. The tax was negligible until 2006 but the state government then decided to link it with the Ready Reckoner.
The result—Residents of some buildings like Queens Apartment, who paid Rs 1,000 have now been billed Rs 5 lakh which includes the NA tax and arrears from 2006.
This is because the current value of the land according to the Ready Reckoner is high. The NA is currently 0.05 per cent of the Ready Reckoner rates for residential properties.
Last year, the suburban collectorate collected Rs 30.45 crore as NA tax.
A delegation of residents led by local legislator Baba Siddique had demanded the withdrawal of the huge sum being levied on the residents. “We understand the state needs revenue but it is beyond our means to pay such obscene amounts,” said Siddique. “The penalty levied is very high and residents are being threatened by the staff of the collectorate.”
Siddique said that residents would protest if the discrepancies were not removed.
Real estate experts have said the tax is obsolete and should be repealed. “It is just a mechanism to fleece money and should be scrapped,” said real estate lawyer Vinod Sampat.