Hyderabad, March 15: After the drums fall silent, the cash registers start ringing.
An Andhra municipality has been sending drum players to the doors of house-tax defaulters to embarrass them into paying up, beating into a novel form the naming-and-shaming tactics used against bank loan lodgers.
Adilabad municipality’s M. Sudershan swears by the method. “Some of the defaulters start getting ready to shell out the dues after hearing the dappus (drums). Nobody likes a crowd in front of their homes, more so for reasons like delay or default in taxes.”
Bill collector Sudershan and his colleagues are relieved. The dappu has succeeded where countless notices, warnings, emails and SMSes failed, helping heal the civic body’s bleeding coffers by shoring up property-tax collections.
“We have come a long way since we began the process three months ago when the dues were Rs 1.2 crore. Now even the most recalcitrant of evaders have softened,” he said.
But the dappu is the only element of the “orchestra”. Civic officials accompanying the drummers chant slogans in front of such homes saying the owners are tax defaulters loud and long till they get a response.
Usually, dappus are played during funerals. But the Adilabad tax squads often make their music sound like a dirge, belting out sorrowful, but deafening beats.
Sudershan’s colleague Gopa Kumar said the musical tax-collection drive worked across the board. “Nobody likes a hungama (din) in front of their homes.”