Bhopal: Bhopal Municipal Corporation takes no time in attaching the properties of the ‘Aam Aadmi’ owing even a couple of thousand rupees to it by way of property tax. And such actions are duly publicised.
But when it comes to political parties, the civic body is extremely magnanimous. No matter how big the overdue amount is and no matter for how long it is pending, the BMC does not take any action against them, beyond sending perfunctory notices. Whether this is due to indulgence or fear is anybody’s guess. And it does not make any difference whether the BMC is controlled by the BJP or the Congress.
To begin with, the offices of political parties have been exempted from property tax – a major concession, given the fact that they are located in prime areas. The BJP’s state office is located near 7 number bus stop and has a string of shops on the ground floor. Though the building itself is exempted from property tax, the shops, which are rented out, are not. But the party has not paid a paisa to BMC since 1990 and the dues have now mounted to Rs 25.64 lakh.
The Congress owns a sprawling building called Jawahar Bhavan in the city’s central business district of New Market. The entire building has been let out, with the PCC functioning from its old office near 5 number bus stop. There are shops on the ground floor while the first floor has been rented out to a garment retail chain, which is shortly going to open its first store in the city. The Congress hasn’t cared to pay anything to BMC since 1988 and its dues have mounted to Rs 57 lakh.
Archana Sharma, in-charge of property tax wing of BMC, when contacted, said the corporation would serve notices on the parties as per the rules. She, however, declined comment when asked what action BMC proposed to take against the two parties if they refused to pay up.