VISAKHAPATNAM: The tax collection figures of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) have touched a record high bringing broad smiles to the officials.
Unfazed by the devastation caused by cyclone Hudhud, the denizens contributed to the coffers generously, supporting the GVMC in its efforts to lead the Port City to growth and prosperity.
The GVMC’s tax collections has touched Rs 571.44 crore on March 31, 2015, recording a growth of Rs 71.04 crore over the previous fiscal. The civic body received Rs 177.38 crore in property tax as against the target of Rs 185 crore. Revenue from bulk water consumers fetched Rs 112.36 crore. However, the town planning department recorded low returns. While the GVMC collected Rs 75.39 crore from the town planning segment in 2013-14, the receipts plunged to Rs 58.38 crore in 2014-15 fiscal.
“We were not confident about achieving the target, considering the devastation caused by cyclone Hudhud and the overall situation prevailing in the city. In fact, certain political parties had raised pitch for a tax holiday, considering the loss caused by Hudhud,” said a senior official at GVMC. He claimed that the overwhelming response was an approval for GVMC’s outstanding efforts to restore normalcy after the cyclone caused a trail of destruction in the city.
“Continuous monitoring and guidance by GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar also helped the officials perform well,” the official added.
Meanwhile, poor response from the Central government undertakings is also causing concern. Most of the Central government undertakings make their own arrangements for infrastructure development like roads, water and street lights. But they are entitled to pay 33 per cent of the service charges to the local civic bodies.
Though there are several central government establishments in the GVMC limits, the receipts from these establishments have been insufficient. The GVMC received Rs 33 lakh as service charges from the Central government undertakings in 2014-15, while the the returns were nil in 2013-14 fiscal.
“The Central government establishments are supposed to support the civic bodies in development. However, major establishments in Vizag are making their own arrangements to develop infrastructure in their townships. Though they support the local body by providing some facilities, we can’t offer total tax exemption. We are planning to collect the dues and settle court matters in this regard in the current fiscal,” the GVMC official said.