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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Property tax: rebate rush across Doaba

Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, November 28, 2013
First Published: 19:38 IST(28/11/2013) | Last Updated: 19:45 IST(28/11/2013)

With November 30, the last day of filing property tax with a rebate of 10% approaching, a large number of people have started coming to civic bodies as there is no online submission facility.

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Except the Jalandhar municipal corporation, all other civic bodies of the Doaba region had failed to provide online facility to submit property tax and even lack mandatory web portal to help public.

Till November 27, the civic bodies of the region had collected Rs. 7.1 crore as property tax and they hope to increase the collection manifold before November 30.

A huge rush was seen outside the offices of municipal councils. People, however, rued that they had to spend hours in queues to pay the tax. On November 27, over 5,500 applicants thronged offices in the region to deposit property tax.

"We have arranged several camps to facilitate people in filing their returns manually. People are turning up in large numbers to get rebate. We have issued instructions to all the executive officers to make necessary arrangements for hassle-free filing of returns," deputy director, local bodies, TK Goel said.

Residents rue lack of facilities
An HT team visited the civic body offices at Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Phagwara and listened to the problems being faced by people.

"We wanted to deposit tax in time but due to lack of information about the process we should adopt, we have to wait for a day. There is heavy rush and it takes almost entire day to file the returns," said Jaswinder Singh, a Phagwara resident.

Provision of online filing of returns is a must these days, Avtar Singh, another Phagwara resident, said, adding that it is hard to believe that these people are not using technology for facilitating public. "People are being charged heavily for filling forms by private players in connivance with municipal officials."

Rajesh Kumar, a Kapurthala resident, said, "Since the last two or three months, common man is being harassed by the state government. Earlier on pretext of regularisation charges and now for property tax. There is no coordination. I had not received no-objection certificate so far for my property for which I had paid regularisation charges. It is not clear to me that on what basis should I submit property tax now."

Authorityspeak
Deputy director, local bodies, TK Goel, said "We had issued instructions to all civic bodies to rope in banks, insurance offices, corporate houses, marriage palaces, hotels, guest houses, restaurants/dhabas, petrol pumps, cinemas and industrial houses to increase the collection of property tax." 

"Hopefully by December 31, which is the deadline for filing property tax without any penalty, we will cover most of target," Goel said.

When asked about the non-availability of online payment facility, he said, "Necessary efforts in this direction will be made."
A councillor from Phagwara, Kuldeep Singh, said, "We are planning to launch a portal of MC at the earliest to facilitate residents. As of now, we are trying to ensure hassle-free filing of returns."

Fast Facts (Till November 27)

Collections so far
Civic body                            Amount    Online facility
Jalandhar                                3.71 cr          Yes
Phagwara                               40 lakh           No
Hoshiarpur                              75 lakh           No
Deputy director, local bodies   2.2 lakh          No
(29 municipal councils)

Lagging behind
Civic body      Applications received so far
Mehatpur                     7
Haryana                   141
Sham Churasi           186
Garhdiwala               293
Rahon                      304
Kartarpur                 361
Lohian Khas             409

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