Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has yet again failed to meet its target in property tax collection.
It has collected Rs 1,358 crore as against its own expectation of Rs 2,000 crore (mentioned in the 2012-13 budget).
Since Siddaiah took charge as the Commissioner in January, there have been various ‘novel’ initiatives to collect property tax from the defaulters.
They include beating of drums, putting up names of the defaulters in public places and publishing their names in media. In spite of these measures, BBMP has been able to collect Rs 1,358 crore, including Rs 214 crore in the last quarter of the financial year (January to March).
In February’s BBMP Council meeting, Siddaiah, in his reply, had said, “As of now, the BBMP has collected Rs 1,200 crore under property tax head. This is not because of our Revenue Department officials’ efforts. But it was the money paid online.
Our officials, including Revenue and Tax Inspectors, have failed to collect the required tax amount.”
As per the civic body’s latest statistics, there are more than 16 lakh properties, of which there are 3.5 lakh property tax defaulters.
According to sources, there are 650 officials working in Revenue department in all the eight zones of the city.
They include Tax, Revenue Inspectors, Assistant Revenue Officers and others. When asked if there was staff crunch, I Ramakanth, Deputy Commissioner (Revenue), BBMP, said, “We have enough staff. But they are engaged in non-revenue works throughout the year, including issuing of voters identity cards, socio-economic works and other census,” he said.
On the other hand, Siddaiah said election work gets priority and revenue officials are working on it.
BBMP to track defaulters
This year (2013-14), the cash-strapped BBMP seems to have become more rigid in collecting funds from defaulters.
According to Ramakanth, they are asking property owners to produce Revenue Register (RR) numbers of BWSSB and BESCOM. This will be updated along with the property ID number. He said there are 18 lakh water connection meters in the city. The numbers are more than the properties.
However, one of the reasons could be due to defaulters. It is similar with electricity connection too. He also said that there are many property owners, who are using their properties for commercial purposes, but declared it as residential under Self Assessment Scheme (SAS).
“When we ask then to update RR numbers, we can track defaulters,” he said.