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Tax waiver scheme for Howrah

Property tax and commercial tax defaulters in Howrah have been given six months to clear their dues without paying penalty and interest.

The state government on Tuesday declared the property and commercial tax waiver scheme for the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC).

Property and commercial tax dues in the HMC area are around Rs 550 crore, of which interest and penalty account for Rs 350 crore.

Urban development minister Firhad Hakim said the Trinamul-run civic body was expecting to mop up the entire outstanding principal — Rs 200 crore — while the scheme is in force. The reason for his optimism was “the success of the tax waiver schemes offered by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation”.

When asked whether the Howrah waiver scheme would be extended beyond six months, Hakim said: “It depends on the response.”

The minister said the decision to introduce the tax waiver scheme was taken in consultation with the finance department. Civic bodies need the government’s permission to offer such waivers.

“The chief minister has expressed satisfaction over the decision to introduce the scheme,” said Hakim.

“The previous Left board had messed up the tax collection system. People wanted to pay tax but could not because of procedural complications,” mayor Rathin Chakraborty said. The civic body, he said, would soon start issuing letters to the defaulters, informing them of the waiver scheme.