Residents of Kharghar have come up in support of corporator Leena Garad, who has been fighting against the retrospective and dual tax collection of Panvel Municipal Corporation (PMC). They have decided that they will not pay the property tax and even did not allow Garad to pay her property tax. But they will pay Garad’s property tax to show their solidarity in her fight against PMC’s proposed tax collection.
Garad, who is a corporator at PMC and President of Kharghar Colony Forum, has been fighting against retrospective and dual tax collection of the PMC, and she has also approached the High Court against the tax collection. The Bombay High Court had restricted the PMC from coercive tax collection till June 10.
Meanwhile, the PMC administration had sent notices to 29 sitting corporators to pay their property tax or be ready to face action. The civic administration had given three months to clear pending tax which will end on May 31. In case, the sitting corporators do not pay taxes till May 31, as per sections 10 and 11 of the Municipal Act, they will be barred from contesting a civic election in the future.
Since corporator Garad has been fighting against the high rate and dual tax collection and decided to not pay her property taxes, in such a situation, she may not be able to contest a civic election. The present term of the corporation will end on July 9.
Members of Colony Forum and a few NGOs from the PMC area held a meeting on May 22 and decided to support Garad. They also declared that “Leena Garad madam will not pay her property taxes' '.
One of the members of Colony Forum, said that this movement has led to around 95% of residents have not paid their property taxes. They are awaiting the High Court's order, as a case has been filed by Garad against the retrospective and double taxes issue.
Members of Colony Forum have appealed to every resident to voluntarily contribute Rs 10, 20, 30, 50, or 100 to pay the property tax of Garad. “This is an appeal by every colony member of PMC, to every other member to join hands in this mass movement against the unjustified property taxes and contribute,” added the member. They have also shared a QR Code to collect Rs 55,000 property taxes for Garad.
The PMC was formed in 2016 and a proposal to collect property and other taxes was passed in January 2019. However, the civic body has been charging taxes since it came into existence. But residents say, in absence of PMC, they were paying service charges to CIDCO and the civic body is taking tax for that period too. So, they decided to oppose dual and retrospective tax collection. They are also opposing the high rate of tax slabs.