THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If cash should trickle in, it’s time the City Corporation geared up its revenue collection. An account statement handed over to the Corporation Secretary from the office of the Senior Deputy Director, Local Fund Audit, in the first week of January makes it clear that only 20-per cent revenue collection has happened in the first half of the fiscal year 2011-12.
The audit, done in 38 wards coming under the Corporation main office, showed that while the demand is Rs 50.06 crore, the collection has been only Rs 9.58 crore, which means that a balance of Rs 40.47 is pending as collection dues. The arrears and current year demand are 12.46 per cent and 27.66 per cent respectively, which means 80.85-per cent collection is still remaining.
The statement says that since the tax collection has not been spruced up, there is a severe shortage in Own Fund, which consequently affects the projects implemented by the local body. Many projects which are to be completed pooling in half from the Own Fund and half from the Plan Fund suffer due to this.
The statement says that it has come to the notice that a couple of projects, after the utilisation of the Plan Fund, have come to a halt with no money from the Own Fund.
However, Deputy Mayor G Happykumar says that the gargantuan figures that often fall under the balance amount to be collected were courtesy the dues made by government offices and institutions.
"Ward-level collection has already been given momentum ever since the new Council came to power. It is the other dues, mostly made pending by government offices, that create such blown-up figures. We have already started assessment of government buildings which have been enjoying zero tax status and we are serving notices on such tax defaulters who have not paid tax for a long time,’’ he said.
The letter says that if the situation persists, then the Corporation might end up showing the worst figures in tax collection ever. However, the Deputy Mayor said that the tax collection has only gained speed and will record a decent figure at the end of the fiscal.
The Corporation had recently served notices on some Technopark companies and government offices who had tax dues. Some of the IT firms have started paying tax dues, while some have asked for relaxation or provision to pay in instalments, which has been granted. The letter from the audit office says that the figures from the zonal offices are only being processed. Once they too are added, the figures could be disturbing.