Municipality in Andhra Pradesh drives tax defaulter to suicide

Municipality in Andhra Pradesh drives tax defaulter to suicide

A municipality in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh drove a 45-year-old poultry farmer to suicide by subjecting him to “shaming tactics” for not paying taxes.

Punganuru Municipal authorities parked a reeking, overflowing garbage lorry at the doorstep of Adinarayana, who owed Rs 4.7 lakh in property tax over three years.
The municipality had refused to give the man, who was suffering a setback in his poultry farming, any further extension on paying tax.

Unable to bear the authorities’ shaming tactics, Adinarayana hung himself in a room at his house to save his face in front of neighbours and family members.

“He was in his bedroom since Sunday morning and when we went to call him for lunch we found him hanging from the fan,” his son Parasuram said.

Unannounced, the municipality had the same morning dumped garbage in front of Adinarayana’s house with a sign board that said his non-payment of tax had resulted in a garbage crisis in the town.

The local municipality had resorted to publicly naming and shaming property tax defaulters ahead of the March 31 deadline for revenue collection, besides highlighting chronic tax defaulters by parking garbage trucks in front of their houses.
Punganur municipal officials, however, do not regret their actions. They justify shaming tax defaulters by saying that there is no other way to collect property tax arrears, which have been pending since the thick of the Samaikhyandhra agitation.

Anticipating such trouble, the high court in the February had admonished the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for placing dustbins overflowing with garbage in front of the tax defaulters’ properties as it was “uncivilised.”
The court had directed the civic body to remove all illegally placed dustbins telling them that the job of the GHMC is to remove garbage and not to place them near houses.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice Sanjay Kumar, was dealing with a petition filed by a businessman.
“No law permits you (GHMC) to do this. Even if any law allows such cheap practices, we shall strike it down. We shall ask a magistrate to prosecute your commissioner,” the bench had warned the GHMC.

The family of the Punganur poultry farmer is planning to file a case against the municipal commissioner and others involved.

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