Tom-tom to shame property-tax evaders

If you live in South and some parts of West Delhi (which fall under the jurisdiction of South Delhi Municipal Corporation – SDMC) and have not paid your property tax for several years, then don’t be surprised if you wake up to the loud sound of dhols blaring outside your home.

Unable to make several property owners pay the tax in past several years, the SDMC has decided to shame the defaulters by engaging 'dhol wallahs' to play outside the homes and inform the entire neighbourhood the tax defaulters.

BN Singh, collector and assessor of SDMC informed the civic body’s standing committee
that the department has no option left but to go back to the traditional method of ‘drum beating’ to recover taxes.

“These procedures were used earlier, but were discontinued. We will go back to the traditional method of shaming tax the defaulters,” he said.

The move comes in wake of a decline in tax collection last fiscal. In 2010-2011, tax collection was Rs 322 crore, while in 2011-2012, it went down to Rs 313 crore. The number of tax payers too came down from 4.42 lakh to 4.24 lakh.

However, the corporation has collected Rs 229 crore at tax revenue during the fist quarter of the current finacial year. “In the same quarter last year, the corporation collected Rs 266 crore. There are lakhs of property owners who are still not paying taxes,” Singh said.

The standing committee of the corporation discussed ways to augment the income from property tax as it is the biggest source of revenue for the civic body. Apart from drum beating, the corporation has also decided to make a list of the biggest defaulters and seize their properties for the purpose of auctioning. In the unified MCD (before it got divided into three parts in April this year), the corporation had identified 12 properties for auctioning but after the trifurcation, the corporation has started afresh.

“We will identify property owners that have not paid taxes for years and owe more than Rs 5 lakh to the corporation,” said Rajesh Gehlot, chairman of the standing committee.

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