GHMC officials seem to be having second thoughts on the proposed 30 per cent property tax hike. After claiming that he had the powers to do so irrespective of the elected representatives' stand, Commissioner Sameer Sharma seems disinclined to swim against the tide.

Mr. Sharma's contention is that the tax hike proposal was floated only after considering the funds needed for toning up civic infrastructure, financial liabilities on account of the Rs. 400 crore bank overdraft taken and the planned Rs. 600 crore loan.

Yet, if elected representatives were unanimous in opposing the hike, he was not going to push through despite the fact that the GHMC could be in real trouble in a couple of years with empty coffers.

Senior officials argue that rationalisation of property tax was imperative since area based unit rate system based on building location, type of construction, plinth area, age and nature of usage was introduced in all urban bodies except the erstwhile MCH in 1993.

“The area based unit system was again revised in 2002 except in MCH. That is also why you have tax rates similar or more in the surrounding municipalities when compared to the developed core city (MCH),” points out Additional Commissioner (Finance) S. Harikrishna.

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