Kolkata's premium car owners fail to clear road tax dues worth Rs 70 crore, govt mulls crackdown
The list of defaulters includes actors, reputed doctors, entrepreneurs and lawyers with brands such as Land Rover, Range Rover, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar.
KOLKATA: Owners of premium cars with prices ranging between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 1.15 crore have become a headache for the cash-strapped West Bengal government as they are reluctant to clear road tax dues.
According to records available with the transport department, road tax for 1,931 high-end vehicles to the tune of Rs 70 crore has been lying unpaid as the owners show “no interest” to comply with the rule-book despite repeated reminders. The list of defaulters includes actors, reputed doctors, entrepreneurs and lawyers with brands such as Land Rover, Range Rover, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar.
Sources in the transport department said Nabanna, the state secretariat, had recently sought the names of owners of premium luxury vehicles who have not paid road tax for long. “Such owners are riding their vehicles without paying road tax for the past five to 10 years. Owners of normal vehicles are found to be more law-abiding than these rich people. But now, we have decided to initiate a special drive to recover the huge dues of road tax,” said an officer of the transport department.
Citing an example, an official at Nabanna said a vehicle owned by a popular actress from the Bengali film industry was intercepted at the Ruby crossing on EM Bypass one month ago. “A total of Rs 12 lakh is due from her under the head of road tax. She was given several reminders. We confiscated the vehicle which has been lying at the transport department’s Kasba office. The owner did not bother to clear her dues as she has other cars to ride,” said the officer.
An inspector of the motor vehicles department said the traffic police and officers of the transport department hesitate to intercept premium vehicles. “But defaulters will not be allowed to take this advantage anymore. The state transport authorities will send notices to all the defaulters and after issuing three such notices, stern action will be taken. We will use the legal provisions of the West Bengal Public Demand Recovery Act to get the dues from the defaulters,” said another officer of the transport department.
The officer also said the state government is planning to make it mandatory that a buyer will have to pay road tax for 15 years at the time of buying a premium car. “If the owners of luxury premium cars do not clear the dues, we will have no other option left other than collecting road taxes for 15 years,” he added.