Though newly-elected mayor Arun Sood is pressing for revenue generation by finding new ways like imposing entry tax on commercial vehicles coming to the city from other states, the BJP councillor seems to be ignoring the fact that five years have passed and the MC still has to collect over Rs 12 crore from water bills defaulters. In addition to that, the civic body’s over 300 properties are lying vacant in different parts of the city for over a decade, causing losses of around Rs 8 crore. To everyone’s surprise, the MC does not even have a proper record of such properties.
In the recent finance and contracts committee (F&CC) meeting, the mayor had proposed imposing of the entry tax on commercial vehicle, auctioning of a scooter bazaar site in Sector 41, and increasing the fee (from Rs 5,000 to Rs 40,000) for granting permission to shoot documentaries, promotional shooting and commercial shooting in gardens under the civic body.
Speaking to HT, Sood said, “We are working on these issues and will soon come up with a clear policy to dispose of the properties lying vacant. We will also ask the UT to give us permission to auction our sites.”
Pertinent to mention that with the earnings of just Rs 49 crore this fiscal, the civic body is running behind its target of Rs70 crore revenue generation.
Former mayor Pardeep Chhabra said, “When the BJP was in Opposition, its councillors always claimed of streamlining the system to generate more revenues, but now they talking of imposing new taxes, which will put a burden on the common man.”
Civic body’s major sources of revenue generation
At present, the MC’s main sources of income are property tax, paid parking lots, rent from cable operators, taxi stands, community centres, through auctioning of seized articles, festival charges, rickshaw licence fee, rent from night food-street, subway shops, eating joints and liquor vends.
Development plan just on paper
The MC had approved a layout plan to develop pocket number 6 in Manimajra in 2002. Under the project, as many as 165 residential plots were to be auctioned but nothing has been done. Surprisingly, no sustained efforts have been made to develop pocket numbers 2 and 3 (backside of the fire station) and pocket numbers 4 and 5 (near Durga Nursery) in Manimajra.
MC apathetic about losses
Due to non-allotment of its hundreds of booths, the MC has suffered a loss of around Rs 7 crore so far. Then MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh had also constituted a committee in August 2014 to frame a policy for booth allotment, but things haven’t moved much. In the accountant general’s audit report released recently, it was stated the MC didn’t make efforts to lease out these booths and that their condition has deteriorated over the years. These shops could have been leased out through advertisements in newspapers or internet, the report had stated. Shops in the Sector 17-22 subway are lying vacant for the past one decade. However, after suffering a loss of over`5 crore due to these 14 vacant booths for over 10 years now, the MC is planning to auction them. To enhance its overall revenue earnings, these shops were transferred to the MC in 1997.