The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Water cutlist targets 150

A day after the civic authorities started swinging the water-tax axe to realise property dues, municipal commissioner Debasis Som submitted a list of 150 premises that together owe the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) Rs 170 crore.

Officials said the CMC will start disconnecting waterlines from next week, after serving three mandatory notices.

Through Thursday night, the CMC snapped waterlines of five addresses on Little Russel Street, Mirza Ghalib Street, Camac Street, Bentinck Street and Muktaram Babu Street. These five properties owed the CMC Rs 21.05 crore. No waterlines were disconnected on Friday.

Residents of some buildings approached mayor Subrata Mukherjee during the day with small instalments of their arrears but he turned them away. “I have told them that they should cough up at least 50 per cent of their dues before any kind of consideration,” he said.

The mayor said that the CMC had already offered a scheme to waive interest on accumulated property tax last year, but owners of more than 200 premises — each with a minimum arrear of Rs 50 lakh — had not responded.

“Now, I don’t have any alternative but to realise my tax dues. The government, too, has been saying that all civic bodies will have to generate their own resources,” he added.

Accordingly, the government has strengthened the hands of the civic bodies by formulating a legislation that empowers the authorities to disconnect water supply if property tax remains unpaid for four quarters.

Secretary of the All Calcutta House-Owners’ Association Amar Mitra said the CMC would become more “autocratic” in realising property tax. “The CMC has increased property tax so much in the city proper that many houses will have to do without water connections before long,” he added. He said that house-owners who make a living from rent have to pay 40 per cent of the income as property tax.

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