Showing its laid back attitude, the Patiala municipal corporation (MC) is sitting over its ‘dream project’ to conduct an IT-enabled geographic information system (GIS)-based survey aimed at streamlining its house tax compliance as well as create an online road register to streamline the functioning of its engineering section.
In January last week, a US-based Cyber Tech Solutions showed interest in conducting the said survey in response to its tender allotted for the purpose.
The MC had to approve its case in the finance and contract committee (F&CC) meeting to award the contract to the company, a move which is still pending even after two consecutive F&CC meetings in the recent past.
Sources said a section of the MC officials were against the survey as they feared that if conducted successfully, it could put a check on the unethical practices in the civic body. In the past, there had been several allegations of fake bills being passed against the road work, which were never done on the ground.
The survey would provide GPS-enabled centralised data base of road networks in the city and provide exact information of the successfully executed road works. Further, it would conduct a door-to-door household survey in the city to gather data on the covered area of all residential and commercial properties and prepare a property tax assessment with information of residential and commercial units in each ward.
Since the civic body is currently dependent solely on the declaration of the house tax by the property owners, this survey will then provide mechanism to know whether the assessment done by residents is accurate as per the set formula prescribed by the state government and further list the defaulters in various segments.
Even though the civic body has been charging property tax from the local residents since 2012-13, its average property tax collection has not gone beyond Rs 10 crore per annum. Mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj claims that property tax collection in Patiala should aggregate between Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore per year.
While MC Commissioner could not be contacted, Bajaj said, “The project is not shelved. We have asked for the company’s presentation in next two-three days.”