Come June and the cash-strapped Amritsar municipal corporation would become strict with defaulters of house tax and charge interest on the arrears so as to augment its income.
Sources stated that the arrears on account of house tax collections totalled Rs 13 crore. They further said that 13 to 18% penal interest would be charged from defaulters depending on due amounts.
According to MC officials, the civic body is desperate to shore up its earnings and decided to double the penalty on the defaulters if they failed to clear dues in time as well as interest on the arrears.
Officials of the house tax department have since drawn up lists of defaulters. The first list comprises at least 100 defaulters who owe the MC house tax of Rs 10,000 or more.
The second list comprised defaulters who owed arrears amounting to Rs 5,000 or more. The officials warned that in case of failure to clear arrears, the buildings of defaulters would be sealed.
According to sources, this would be the first time since its inception that the Amritsar MC would be charging interest on arrears, something which other civic bodies in the state have been doing for years.
When contacted, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said that the step was necessary for the MC to boost its income. He maintained that the move would go a long way in ensuring timely payment of house tax dues, thereby increasing MC's income.
"Several developmental projects are hanging fire in the city for want of funds. The MC is trying its best to increase its income and prevent waste so that it has enough money to complete these projects," he said.
He, however, added that the civic body would grant exemptions if the defaulters have genuine reasons for delay in payment of house tax dues, provided these were backed by solid evidence.