: Enforcement of the Election Commission’s model code of conduct ahead of the Lok Sabha elections is likely to hit Greater Chennai Corporation’s property tax collection.
The civic body has reduced tax collection from residential areas and has instructed officials to not force residents to pay property taxes. In Ambattur zone, officials have been asked to begin collection from residential properties only after the elections.
“We have got several representations from the residents welfare associations in Ambattur stating that there was a huge increase in property taxes, compared to the other zones. They also submitted a representation to the rural and municipal administration minister, S P Velumani, and it was forwarded to us,” said M Paranthaman, zonal officer of Ambattur zone. He added that they will continue to collect tax from commercial establishments. “We will not force the residents who have raised concerns to pay now. We will inspect their properties, check their appeals and then issue notices to pay the tax,” he said.
In Ambattur, of the 1.10 lakh assessments, only 35% collection has been completed. “In all other zones, 40% collection has been done,” said an official. Election work was cited as the reason for slower collection.
Deputy commissioner – revenue, R Lalitha said the collection of taxes has not been stopped yet. “We have collected about Rs 850 crore so far, and we will cross Rs 1,000 crore by the end of this month,” she said.
S Suresh, general secretary of United welfare Associations, Ambattur told TOI, “The corporation had increased the property tax and for Ambattur, it was particularly high. For the past six months, all the associations affiliated to us have been representing to the government. Since there was no response from the officials, we met minister S P Velumani to discuss the issue. He said he will instruct the GCC to freeze collection of new property taxes in Ambattur and rectify the anomaly after the elections.
The assistant commissioner confirmed two days back that they have received the instruction to correct the anomaly and collect taxes after the polls. As all the officials are engaged in election work, this issue will be taken up only after the election.
The civic body has more than 50,000 pending appeals, of which 2,000 are from Ambattur.