In juxtapose to its previous practice of shaming the defaulters of house tax dues by beating of ‘dhol’, especially close to the end of the financial year, the Amritsar municipal corporation has now decided to be strict but people friendly.
To begin with, the MC has gone strict with its house tax and property tax officials, assigning them weekly and monthly targets, and taking away certain powers and duties from them.
The MC officials concerned said the move was made to avoid causing harassment to people, who were in the past often wheedled into paying more taxes.
While it is yet to be seen whether this ‘humanitarian’ approach will help the civic body build up its poor financial health or not, MC brass have decided, for now, that they will go soft on the defaulters to encourage them to pay their dues in time.
Giving details, Jasbir Singh, additional commissioner, MC, who has recently been assigned the charge of collection of house and property taxes, said the harassment of people in terms of over assessment of their dues was rampant in the past, as the charge for making assessments and issuing notices were with the officials of the department.
“However, this will no longer happen, as the charge of making assessments and issuing notices for the payment of house tax has been taken from the officials of the department,” he said. He added that in order to ensure that the defaulters do not face any harassment he had taken upon himself he task of issuing notices to them after thorough assessment of their actual payable house tax dues.
“We shall go strict on the collection of property tax, but the approach shall be public friendly,” he added.
Singh maintained that proper registers would be maintained and stress would be laid on follow ups to ensure that the defaulters pay their dues in time. Alongside, he said, the MC should also work on recovering of the pending house tax dues and shall mull a strategy for the recovery.
Panel begins process of finalising pending cases
While more than 1,600 cases of house tax are awaiting clearance by the Assessment Sub Committee (ASC) of the house tax department for the past many years, the committee at a meeting held a few days ago has started the process of finalising these pending cases, which will enable the insolvent MC to net as much as Rs 30 crore in terms of house tax payments.
Jasbir Singh said effort would be made to settle all these cases in the next few months through bi-weekly meetings.