The municipal corporation (MC) here is yet to recover pending tax arrears worth Rs 12.6 crore. Term it lack of political will or poor recovery policies, the MC has failed to tighten noose around the defaulters, be they residential or commercial or public entities.
The civic body has pending arrears of house tax worth Rs 3.09 crore, water supply and sewerage bill arrears Rs 9.2 crore, rented Rs 25.6 lakh) and house tax fire cess of Rs 6.5 lakh.
One of the officials said even the notices were issued under Section 137 of the Municipal Corporation Act, which clearly states that ‘In case of non- payment of the bills within the stipulated period, action will be initiated against the defaulters’, to defaulters, but to no avail as defaulters were adamant not to pay their pending dues.
“The lackadaisical approach of the department concerned in recovering pending arrears resulted in piling up of the dues thus hampering the civic body’s financial condition,” an official said seeking anonymity.
He added that “Every time, they serve notices, the defaulters either approach the department concerned with references of influential political leaders, or in many cases, they are not bothered to respond due to their strong political back-up”.
- House tax: Rs 3.09 crore
- Water supply and sewerage: Rs 9.2 crore
- Rented property: Rs 25.6 lakh
- House tax fire cess: Rs 6.5 lakh
Municipal corporation commissioner Anil Kumar Garg said the departments concerned have been asked to prepare a list of defaulters so that the required action should be initiated against them.
“We will soon start attaching moveable and immovable properties of house tax defaulters, while the water supply and sewerage connections of the defaulters in the list will be snapped,” Garg said.
He added that senior officials of defaulter government offices will be served notices to make their payments at the earliest so as to avoid any action.
House tax arrears pending since 2013
Even though the state government abolished house tax and replaced it with property tax in 2013, the civic body has to collect pending arrears of Rs 3.09 crore from more than 1,500 tax defaulters, including government offices, educational institutions, private business houses, residential areas and other small and large scale traders across the MC Jurisdiction.
A case related to pending arrears of Rs 2.3 crore towards Bathinda thermal plant has been pending in the Punjab and Haryana high court, while the corporation had received house tax arrears of Rs 1.25 crore from Indian Railways in 2016.
The government had come up with an amnesty scheme last year, in which the interest on pending arrears was waived, if the amount was cleared in one go, but the scheme failed to elicit any response.