If GHMC promptly collects property tax, it could meet its expenses, but collection is lax owing to corruption
Hyderabad: Tax collection is the lifeline of any governance. For the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), property tax is the bread and other taxes its butter. But, in a shocking observation, the GHMC seems to have failed miserably to collect even 50 percent of the taxes due.
The corporation a total of 12.5 lakh properties in its limits. Among these, 11.6 lakh are residential properties and the remaining are commercial ones. If taxes are collected duley and completely, the corporation need not go begging to the state or banks.
Since taking charge, the commissioner MT Krishna Babu held a series of review meetings with officials and asked them to collect the dues.
He hosted for the first time, on the GHMC website a list of top-1000 property tax defaulters. Incidentally, one of the defaulters is none other than the titular prince of Hyderabad, Mukaram Jha Bahadur. Postnoon, in its columns, exposed this issue,and the AP Lokayukta took up the case suo motu and issued notices to GHMC commissioner.
The Corporaiton officials, later slapped demand notices on all the defaulters and asked them to pay the property tax. Speaking to Postnoon, GHMC Additional Commissioner Shiva Parvathi has said that they had issued notices to all the top-1000 property defaulters for collection of the tax and added that if the defaulters did not pay the required amount within the stipulated time they would take other steps including seizure of their properties.
The commissioner found out later that property tax, the arterial blood vessel of GHMC, is not collected fully because numerous properties are in legal dispute. Many structures are unlawfully constructed or violat building norms. And, he knows this could not happen without the involvement of Corporation officials concerned.
But, understandably, the commissioner can’t publicly state it. “We are taking all steps to increase revenue from property tax. I have instructed the officials concerned regarding this,” he said. Recently, the commissioner has felicitated an official of the corporation for being instrumental in collecting over `1 crore of property tax from one of the top defaulters.