Collection of property tax, despite stiff opposition by Congress and other parties, had been a challenge for the civic authorities. Still, municipal corporation claims to have taken several steps for making tax-payment convenient for public. A sum of over Rs 15 crore had been collected till December 6 as property tax. On problems being faced by residents on the different aspects of property tax, HT grilled municipal corporation commissioner Manprit Singh Chattwal.
Q: People, coming to deposit property tax, complain of poor arrangements at MC zonal offices.
A: Zonal offices were basically for the purpose of complaint registration. At all the six zonal offices, there is space crunch. We understand the problems being faced by people. We have opened the online facility for the submission of property tax. We advise people to submit their self-declaratory returns online using Internet.
Q: Staff deputed at zonal centres are also not guiding people. Residents of commercially declared roads are being asked to pay property tax as per commercial rates. A NGO is even planning to seek legal remedy on this.
A: It is not like this. All those who have houses only at the commercially declared roads would file their returns as per the collector rates defined for residential areas of that locality. I will check why people are being harassed. I will call the NGO representatives and try to sort out their grievances.
Q: People complain of unjustifiable formula for calculating property tax on shop-cum-houses. Moreover, there are no provisions for depreciation factor for the houses constructed years ago.
A: These are policy-related issues. We cannot do anything in this regard. However, I will mail my advisory to higher authorities to draw their attention towards public grievances.
Q: Collector rates are also very confusing and overlapping.
A: People should bring the matter to my notice. I have got collector rates for 10 residential and 12 industrial areas notified when the confusion was brought to my notice. My office is always open for public. They can approach me with their grievances and I will certainly try to do the best from my side.
Q: MC staff is not properly guiding about the complexities of the property tax and people are dependent on agents to prepare their files for tax submission. Agents are also misguiding public.
A: We cannot stop anyone for filling returns files for public. For public convenience we have deputed staff for collection of property tax. Staff are human beings too; they are working hard and beyond their office timings. We advice people to take help of cyber cafes to submit their returns. At all HDFC branches, people can deposit their property tax, if they possess debit/credit card of any bank. We are also planning to rope in advocates to help people in filing the tax. Installing biometric attendance machines to ensure the presence of MC officials is also included in our agenda.