EDMC had issued a notice to the offenders via their electricity bills that if they do not pay up their property tax, their power connection would be cut and they may also come under EDMC’s sealing drive radar.
If one were to visit any zonal office of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) these days, one would find a long queue of people waiting for their turn to pay their property tax. Many of these people queuing up have been habitual offenders for not paying property tax dues for last several years. But now they seem to be in a hurry to pay property tax even with all the interest.
The question begs itself - why are these people who have not paid property tax for past several years in a hurry to pay it? The reason, as Amareesh Kumar, a senior official in tax department in EDMC, told City Spidey, is a note mentioned at the bottom of their electricity bills which reads, “Pay all dues of your property tax by March 31 or face power cut and sealing of property.”
Elaborating further, Kumar said, “In January, we tied-up with BSES as it supplies power in most of East Delhi’s residential colonies. We identified all of the offenders and decided to send notices through power Discom. By February 15, nearly 10 lakh property tax offenders in East Delhi were issued notices with a clear note that if they do not pay up their property tax, their power connection would be cut and they may also come under EDMC’s sealing drive radar.”
As per the official records, there are more than 13 lakh properties registered in East Delhi that come under the property tax regime. But, in reality, hardly eight lakh property owners pay property tax. So, in order to raise funds, the cash-strapped EDMC tied up with BSES to send notices to the offenders.
Man Singh, EDMC spokesperson, was of the view that as EDMC was denied any grant from the Delhi government in spite of being aware of its financial condition, such steps had become necessary. “EDMC needs Rs 120 crore per month just to pay monthly wages of sanitation staff. We decided to take such steps despite severe opposition from the political wing of EDMC.”
However, the EDMC on Friday announced a major relief on Property Tax Amnesty Scheme 2017-18, announcing a 100 per cent waiver of interest and penalty on previous pending property tax in all areas under its jurisdiction. But this benefit can only be availed if one files the tax by March 31.
Ashok Kumar Verma, an EDMC official with tax department and in-charge for Mayur Vihar area, said, “In the last one week, more than 2500 people who have not paid property tax for the last 10-12 years have approached me in the office. Suddenly now they are ready to pay even with full interest. Many do not even have complete papers of their properties as most of such properties fall under unauthorised colonies.”