SDMC embarrasses tax defaulters

Corporation officials beat drums outside 67 commercial properties

In a measure to send a strong message to property owners who have not paid property tax over the years, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation officials on Thursday beat drums outside properties in south Delhi whose owners have failed to  pay taxes.

The action was taken against 67 commercial properties at prime locations like Nehru Place and Mahipalpur under Central and Najafgrah zones of south corporation. All the properties against which the action was taken are commercial in nature, which includes shops at Nehru Place and hotels in Mahipalpur.

According to the corporation officials, the amount due with each of the tax defaulters runs into lakhs. The officials said they had no other option than reverting to the traditional method of ‘drum beating’ to recover taxes.

“We adopted this traditional method of drum beating, so that people pay property taxes in time to avoid public embarrassment. The DMC Act provides for use of such procedure to collect taxes. However, it was discontinued. But now we have decided to use the method as several property owners have either not paid tax for last several years or undervalued the tax return during self assessment of property tax,” said B N Singh, assessor and collector, South Corporation.

Under the Central zone, action was taken against eight properties in Nehru Place, two properties in Kalkaji and one in Mohan Estate. Under the Najafgarh zone action was taken against 56 properties, of which 55 are in Mahipalpur and one in Dwarka sector 4.
Hotels are running from most of the properties in Mahipalpur. While amount due against most of the hotels runs into lakh as they have not paid tax for the last seven to eight years, two hotels have to pay tax in the excess of Rs 44 lakh.

The corporation officials said they would continue to use the procedure in future against other tax defaulters as well. “This is just the beginning. We would use the procedure against residential properties as well. The defaulters would have to face the action as they have failed to pay taxes for years despite the corporation making the procedure simpler,” said a corporation official.

Apart from providing online payment of tax, the corporation also made the process simpler by introducing self assessment of property tax, the official added.

According to the corporation officials, the civic body witnessed a decrease in property tax collection in last financial year. In 2010-11, the property tax was Rs 322 crore and in 2011-12, it went down to Rs 313 crore. This action has been taken to achieve the target fixed for the current fiscal, an official said.

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