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Property tax payment made online

By Saptarshi Bhattacharya

CHENNAI, FEB. 7. Property owners in the city can now pay property tax online and check the status of their arrears at the click of a mouse.

The Chennai Corporation has hosted property tax details on its web site and made provisions for online payment using credit cards or Internet banking services.

It has entered into a contract with a private company, Web Duniya, to host and maintain the Corporation's web site for three years, taking a step towards e-governance. Another private company, Tulip IT Services, has been selected for maintenance of lease lines connecting the Corporation's 10 zonal offices to its headquarters, the Ripon Buildings.

The civic body has tied up with ICICI Bank for its online property tax payments and started negotiations with other national banks to enable online payment.

It is, meanwhile, going to the public in different parts of the city to recover property tax arrears. The total arrears amount due from property owners is yet to be calculated due to missing records, officials said.

Last month, the Corporation organised meetings with representatives of residents' welfare associations at T.Nagar and Velachery and requested them to pay the arrears.

Civic officials said they were in the process of integrating the master register with record books maintained by tax collectors. This would eliminate errors and help include the missing records of property tax. Payments already made through banks would be included in the master register soon. The residents would have to furnish details of previous property tax payments if the civic body called for it, they said.

The officials said their efforts to streamline the tax collection drive were being weighed down by election work. Revenue officials have been entrusted with the revision of electoral rolls, verification of rolls and reorganisation of polling booths.

The civic body has so far collected Rs. 160 crores in property tax. The target for the current financial year is Rs. 240 crores. The Corporation only recently compiled the database of its property tax assessees, according to which, the total property tax demand for a year is Rs. 196 crores.

Birth and death registration

Registration of births and deaths in the city has also been made online, and certificates can now be obtained across the counter from zonal offices. However, officials said online registration has been started for births and deaths that occurred between 1980 and 1990. The rest of the periods will be incorporated into the online format in a phased manner, shortly.

Trade licence renewal procedure has also been simplified and made online. The officials said traders could now pay the licence fee at the zonal office and get their licence renewed ``in a few minutes.'' Already, 345 licences have been renewed since February 3.

Besides, those who have applied for sanction of building plans can monitor the status of their applications on the web site.

Introduction of online services would also ensure a single window collection of payments from anywhere in the city, the officials said.

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