HYDERABAD: As a one-time relief to property owners, the Telangana government had recently announced a 50 per cent rebate in property tax for residential property owners in the GHMC limits for the fiscal year 2020-2021. Thousands of residents of Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), who were left out of the benefit, however, are urging the SCB and the State government to extend the tax rebate to them too, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.Secunderabad Cantonment, which has a population of about 2,17,910 people, has eight wards.
Within the cantonment, there are around 50,000 properties, including commercial and residential ones. Of these, more than 10,000 businesses and shops have been operating for more than three decades. Before the onset of the pandemic, the SCB used to collect around Rs 100 crore of revenue from property tax. However, the figure has seen a decline due to the Covid-induced economic slump. Residents claim that due to the pandemic, many business have lost their annual revenue, and it is getting difficult for many to pay taxes. They claim it was unfair that while the rest of the city was getting relief from taxes, the residents of Secunderabad Cantonment were excluded from it.
In this regard, several residents from ward number 5 — the largest ward of SCB — have also submitted a representation to the CEO of SCB, urging him to provide similar relief to them. “The lockdown, which was followed by the catastrophic floods in Hyderabad, has affected many, especially those belonging to the lower and middle-income strata in SCB areas. Considering this, 50 per cent of tax rebate in our property tax should also be given to us either in the current financial year or the next one,” said T Satish Gupta, a social activist and a resident of ward 5. Gupta, along with other residents, has also submitted a representation to the SCB CEO.
Another resident from ward 7, N Rakesh, said, “Unlike GHMC residents, we are paying more tariff for water bills and more tax. Yet, there is no development in our area. We are deprived of basic needs. How is this fair? Are we not the residents of the same State?”