Members of the Task Force for Implementation of the Third State Finance Commission Recommendations expressed displeasure over the Mangalore City Corporation's poor collection of property taxes and water charges.
Reviewing the working of the corporation here on Friday, A.G. Kodgi and his teammate T. Timmegowda expressed concerns over the poor collection of property tax. Mr. Kodgi said the MCC and other municipal corporations had not been collecting penalty from people illegally occupying buildings. “It's the responsibility of the Corporation not to allow illegal occupation. If there are any, penalty should be collected every year till the occupation is regularised. Many corporations have not been collecting the penalty,” Mr. Kodgi said.
The task force members took the officials to task for laxity in collection of property tax through the Self Assessment Scheme. When Mr. Kodgi sought to know the reason for non-collection of around Rs. 1 crore tax, an official said this was related to the government quarters and of cases under litigation. “Notices should have been issued to those in Government quarters,” Mr. Kodgi said.
The official was not able to provide information to another query about the number of persons who had not declared tax under the Self Assessment Scheme and action initiated against such defaulters. “We will recommend to the State Government to stop grants if taxes are not collected properly. We cannot provide mattress for those who are lazy,” Mr. Timmegowda said. The Task Force members were critical of the poor collection of water charges. An Assistant Executive Engineer said the corporation was pumping 160 million litres of water a day from Thumbe Dam while supplying only 140 million litres to 5 lakh residents of the city. The official said there was leakage of 20 million litres of water, which was huge and needed to be plugged. The official was not able to provide the quantity of water supplied to each resident in the city, to the Task Force. The official said the corporation was yet to receive the arrears of water charges from the Mulky Town Panchyat and Ullal Town Municipal Council. He wanted the corporation to have water meters at all the 1,485 public taps in the city and prevent wastage of water.
The former Mayor Shankar Bhat pointed out the problem faced by the corporation in supplying water to five villages near Mangalore free of cost while the respective panchayats were collecting water tax. To this, Mr. Timmegowda asked the corporation Commissioner to work out a solution.