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Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation moots property tax hike in Salt Lake

A recent high court order allows the corporation to ‘implement new tax rates on old valuation’

Snehal Sengupta | Published 24.03.22, 07:54 AM
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Representational image

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Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has proposed to hike property tax for residential houses and apartments in Salt Lake.

The corporation has in its budget proposed a hike for which in some cases the existing tax rates will be doubled, corporation officials said.

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The corporation has proposed a hike in property taxes for the 10 wards that constitute the planned areas of Salt Lake.

The civic body has set itself a revenue target of Rs 294.56 crore for the year 2022-2023. One of the primary revenue earners for any urban local body is property tax.

The tax system in Salt Lake has long been caught in a legal tangle. The corporation is collecting taxes according to the assessment rates of 1997.

A senior official of the civic body’s tax assessment department said a recent high court order allows the corporation to “implement new tax rates on old valuation”.

Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation mayor Krishna Chakraborty said they were left with no other option but to increase the tax rates because of the “rising cost of providing civic services to the residents at a tax structure that was too meagre to compensate for the services provided”.

“We have proposed an increase because the costs involved in providing round-the-clock services like water supply, garbage collection and general upkeep and maintenance of Salt Lake have risen manifold,” said Chakraborty.

Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation has to depend mainly on doles from the state government to purchase new equipment as well as to run its day-to-day activities, officials said.

According to records provided by the corporation, a total of Rs 42.41 crore in the form of property taxes is yet to be collected throughout the 41 wards of the BMC that comprises areas like Salt Lake, Baguiati, Kestopur and parts of Rajarhat. In Salt Lake the unrealised tax arrears amount to Rs 19.32 crore.

From other parts, including Rajarhat and Gopalpur, the civic body has not managed to collect Rs 23.09 crore in tax arrears yet.

In order to ensure that people pay their taxes on time the corporation has also proposed a penalty.

A 10 per cent simple interest will be added to the amount from the last date on which the tax was supposed to be paid, another civic official said.

Kumar Shankar Sadhu, a member of the Salt Lake Welfare Association, which had filed a case against the civic body over a proposed hike in property taxes, said: “We are getting good civic services and I am sure that residents of Salt Lake will be okay to pay taxes as per the new rates because it is true that they had not been hiked since 1997.”

Last updated on 24.03.22, 08:45 AM
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