Mumbai: BMC to auction properties of 50 tax defaulters

Cracking down on property tax defaulters, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given a final call to 50 defaulters who owe around Rs 2000 crore to the civic body as tax.

The civic body has already attached the properties in question and is planning to auction them soon.

The civic body has now prepared a list of 50 major tax defaulters which includes names such as - Fortune builders, Ishwar Saraiyya research centre, Executive Engineer Mhada, Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), Seven Hills Hospital, MMRDA, Jawala Real estate, Supreme Premises, Taj Lands end- Bandra, Mumbai Cricket Association, Runwal Projects among others.

"We have attached the properties of all the above defaulters. We are not going easy on anybody until they pay up and clear the arrears. We are in the process of auctioning these properties for which the taxes are due very soon, " Sangeeta Hasnale, chief Assessor and collector (I/C) of BMC.

The BMC in February and March 2020 launched a drive after the collection of property tax was low in the financial year 2019-2020. Overall, the BMC had to collect around Rs. 15,000 crore from property tax defaulters.

However, it had set a target of around Rs. 5,480 crore as collection from defaulters in 2019-2020. Of this, around the civic body managed to collect Rs 3,100 crore till March 2020.

In March 2020, BMC claimed to have taken action against 3,564 defaulters. The BMC had attached 3,564 properties and disconnected water connections of 262 properties across the city for defaulting on property taxes till March first week. The data by BMC shows that till March 2020 in the island city, a maximum of 147 properties were attached in F-North (Matunga, Sion), 481 were attached in T ward (Mulund) in the eastern part of the city, and 329 in R north (Dahisar) faced action. In L ward (Kurla), a maximum 58 water connections were snapped, followed by 30 in P-north (Malad) ward and 26 in the T ward (Mulund). Following this many made their payment after BMC attached their properties and assets thus saved their properties from being auctioned.

By the end of March 2020, Coronavirus Pandemic hit the city, owing to which the action against defaulters got delayed. After getting a grip over covid 19 in the city, the civic body has now intensified its drive against property tax defaulters.

For the corporation, property tax becomes the biggest source of income (24 percent) for the civic body after the octroi was abolished. BMC has failed to achieve its target from the financial year 2016 to 2017. It has set a target of Rs 6,788.58 crore from property tax collection for 2020-21. However till November 2020, the civic body currently has a backlog of property tax collection to be collected amounting to Rs 5500 crores, officials said.

"We have been issuing notices and warnings, however many have still not cleared the taxes. They have some more time, the final warning, or the properties will be auctioned to recover the dues," Hasnale added.

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