Mumbai civic body adopts ‘unique’ methods to recover unpaid tax
Civic officials from the hydraulics department have adopted methods of loan recovery agents and pressure tactics, such as visiting the defaulter daily, to recover unpaid tax.mumbai Updated: Oct 22, 2017 11:13 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has come up with a unique way to recover dues upto Rs 1,600 crore in water tax from government and private bodies. Civic officials from the hydraulics department have adopted methods of loan recovery agents and pressure tactics, such as visiting the defaulter daily, to recover unpaid tax. The Western Railway (WR), which owes the civic body Rs204 crore in water tax and related miscellaneous charges, is presently facing the civic body’s heat. Of the Rs204 crore, Rs113 crore is for water charges, Rs18 crore for sewage charges, and Rs72 crore for additional charges.
An official from the hydraulic department said, ‘I make at least two trips a week to the WR’s accounts department, and request them to fast forward files related to water tax payment. I have gone to the extent of tracing one set of payment documents from table to table, as the file circulates among officials for clearance, to urge the concerned official to pass the documents ahead faster.”
As of September-end, the civic body has managed to clear documents of water tax payment upto Rs38 crore. The official also said the delay in this payment is owing to the several hierarchies in the WR administration that the file passes through, and most of them are stuck in bureaucratic hurdles.
The official said, “The only way to recover this pending amount is by urging the concerned tables to pass it, and we intend to continue with this method until most of the tax amount is recovered. Presently, the WR is citing an issue with goods and services tax for non-payment.”
Next on the hydraulic department’s list is the Central Railway, which owes BMC over Rs150 crore in water tax. Once some amount is recovered from the Western Railway, BMC plans to adopt the same method with the Central Railway as well.
The spokesperson of the WR said, “All pending amount is not in the form of water tax. We have already cleared some amount part of water tax. Some of it is other charges, and railway administration is undecided on what charges apply to it in total. A meeting of senior officials is scheduled which will verify the payment, and then the dues will be cleared right away.”
Out of the total Rs1,600 crore pending in water tax and miscellaneous expenses, Brihanmumbai electric supply and transport (BEST) owes BMC Rs2.5 crore, BPT owes Rs3.7 crore, the Central government premises in Mumbai owe Rs59.9 crore, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) owes Rs153 crore, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) owes Rs5.6 crore, private organisations owe Rs900 crore, and the state government premises in Mumbai owe Rs117 crore.