People who failed to pay their property tax in areas such as Kalkaji and Nehru Place had to face the music on Thursday, literally, as officials of South Delhi Municipal Corporation beat drums outside the premises of shops that had not paid their dues.
The act played out outside 67 commercial properties located at prime locations such as Nehru Place, Mahipalpur, Kalkaji, Dwarka, among others. All the properties against which the unique action was taken are commercial in nature. This includes shops at Nehru Place and hotels in Mahipalpur.
According to the civic agency, the amount due with each of the tax deafulter runs into lakhs of rupees. The officials added that they had no other option than reverting to the traditional method of drum beating' to recover taxes.
"We adopted the traditional method of drum beating, so that people pay property tax in time to avoid public embarrassment. The Delhi Municipal Act (DMC) provides for use of such procedure to collect taxes. However, it was discontinued. But now we have decided to use this method as several property owners have either not paid their tax for the past several years, or undervalued the tax return during self assessment of property tax," said BN Singh, Assessor and Collector, South Delhi Corporation.
The central zone, which covers most south Delhi areas under its jurisdiction, action was taken against eight properties in Nehru Place, two properties in Kalkaji and one property in Mohan Estate.
Under the Najafgarh zone action was taken against 56 properties, of which 55 are in Mahipalpur area and one in Dwarka Sector-4.
Hotels are running from most of the properties in Mahipalpur. Amount due against most of the hotels runs into several lakh rupees as they have not paid tax for more than seven years.
The corporation officials said they would continue to repeat the novel procedure in future against other tax defaulters as well. "This is just the beginning. We would use the procedure against residential properties as well," said a senior official.
Tax collection came down from R332 crore in year 2010-11 to R313 crore in 2011-12.