BMC cracks whip on property tax defaulters: Seizes 2 helicopters, cuts water supply of building

BMC cracks whip on property tax defaulters: Seizes 2 helicopters, cuts water supply of building
Amid declining revenue and tax dues touching Rs 15,000 crore as of FY 2019-20, the BMC has decided to take stern action against property tax defaulters

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday sized two helicopters of a private airline company for defaulting on paying the property tax worth over Rs 1.64 crore.

The helicopters of the Mesco Airlines were seized from the Juhu Aerodrome and sealed on site.

The municipal body also cut the water supply of Wadhwa Trade Centre, a commercial building in Kalina, over pending dues since 2013. According to officials, the Wadhwa Group owed the civic body Rs 13.3 crore, of which only Rs 2 crore had been paid to date.

Amid declining revenue and a rise in the number of defaulters, the civic body has decided to seize the movable properties to recover pending property tax dues.

As part of the drive, the BMC will first seize commercial properties for recovery of property tax before moving to residential and individual properties. Items like air-conditioners, television sets, and furniture can also be confiscated to recover dues.

Back in 2016, civic officials had decided to take stern action against defaulters – which included seizing movable properties – to help in the recovery of dues. But, the same was never implemented.

However, with the property tax dues touching Rs 15,000 crore as of FY 2019-20 and fall in projected revenue due to government’s decision to exempt houses measuring 500 sq.ft or less from the tax purview, the civic body is focusing on recovering past dues.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that the civic body had to take such severe action against defaulters as the revenue from Octroi tax has dried up.

“As the revenue source from Octroi is no more available after its abolition, the civic body is looking for alternative revenue sources. As it is still looking for alternative revenue sources, the BMC administration is focusing on the recovery of taxes,” Pednekar said.

In 2019-20, the BMC set the target to collect property tax worth Rs 5015.19 crore, but it could collect only Rs 1387 crore till the end of November 2019.

The civic body is also looking at publishing the names of the top defaulters in the newspapers till they pay up.

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