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House tax: Chandigarh residents resent civic body ‘farman’

Many people claim they have paid the tax and MC hasn’t maintained the records, but notice asks them to show receipts.

punjab Updated: Jan 18, 2018 19:34 IST
Hillary Victor 
Hillary Victor 
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
House tax,Chandigarh,municipal corporation
In 2016-17, the corporation collected only ₹3.5 crore of the targeted ₹10 crore from 27,000 houses. The amount is to be collected from a total of 80,000 houses. (HT File)

Strong resentment prevails among the residents of various sectors over the issuance of house tax notice as they claim that they have already paid it and the civic body having no record of the same is harassing them.

Last week, the municipal corporation (MC) served over 4,000 notices to residents of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 34 and 36 to either pay the tax or present payment receipts.

The residents say the MC is treating them as criminals not consumers. In his letter to UT adviser to the administrator, Parimal Rai, city-based advocate Ajay Jagga has termed the recovery notice of MC to a ‘farman’ of Mughal emperors.

Also in the notice, the civic body has stated about attachment of properties for doubtful recoveries. “The notice is like putting a cart before the horse, as the arrears are yet to be determined whereas recovery notice has been issued in an extremely crude manner,” said Nirmal Singh, Sector-36 resident.

‘Used Punjab MC Act for framing notice’

Anil Garg, additional commissioner, MC, said, “As far as the language (of notice) is concerned, we have just reproduced the Section 138 of Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, and moreover, we have clearly told them that in case they have receipts they can show us. More than 60% people have not paid the house tax.”

The tax that was introduced four years back is to be collected from 80,000 houses in Chandigarh.

In 2016-17, the corporation collected only ₹3.5 crore of the targeted ₹10 crore from 27,000 houses.

Ajay Jagga has written letter to UT Adviser contending “there is wrong interpretation of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976 (as applicable to Chandigarh), all notices for recovery u/s 138 of the Act, must be withdrawn immediately, to avoid mass scale litigation; language of notice is almost like criminal.”

“The civic body has no reconciliation of accounts system and it has no record of the payments received from the people as house tax, since 2013. The recovery notice of MC is like farman of Mughal emperors,” letter states.

A retired defence personnel from Sector 36 said, “It is just harassment as we have already paid our tax. Civic body should first determine the dues (special audit) on the basis of reconciled dues , then verify the same, then serve show-cause notices and if even then people don’t pay, then proceed for recovery notices. We understand the better financial health of MC means better facilities for people, but this is not the way.”

The corporation had rolled out a self-assessment scheme two years ago under which residents had to calculate payable tax for only the vacant plot area outside the built-up area of the ground floor.

Where to deposit house tax

House tax can be deposited at all e-sampark centres and the municipal corporation office in Sector 17.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 19:34 IST