Additional tax not being collected; Officials blame each other

While the 15 per cent hike in property tax is mired in controversy over its announcement being called a poll code violation, there appears to be no clarity on collection of solid waste management (SWM) cess.

The corporation had announced that households and commercial establishments would have to pay SWM Cess ranging from Rs. 240 to Rs. 36,000 along with property tax for 2014-15. A direction had said that those paying tax in advance (before April 1) too have to pay this.

Even a fortnight after the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) issued a public notification in this regard, its officials are still not clear whether to collect the cess or not. As a result the collection of the SWM cess from those who paid the property tax of 2014-15 in advance remains a non-starter.

A reality check by The Hindu at the paid help desk (where tax payers can get the forms filled on payment of fixed fee by the civic body) at the ground floor of the MCC revealed that the SWM cess was still not being collected.

The help desk employees who filled the forms said they had not been told about including the cess while filling up the forms. Hence they were adding only the 15 per cent hike in property tax effective from 2014-15.

Blame game

Health and revenue section officials had different versions to recount. If revenue section officials blamed the health section for not communicating the decision, the health section officials maintained that it had been sent and revenue officials were not reflecting this fact.

Sources in the corporation said that once the MCC collected the cess, it would have to make payment to contractors collecting solid waste at people’s doorsteps. People need not pay a user fee to the garbage collectors.

People could question the civic body if garbage was not collected from the doorsteps later. Hence the corporation was yet to work out the details of making payment to contractors.

When The Hindu approached a top official at the corporation for his reaction he said he was not aware that the cess was not being collected. He said that when the notification had been issued it was clear that people need not make payment to garbage collectors from April.

The details of how to make the payment to contractors will be finalised before this month. The official said he had instructed a revenue official to do the needful.

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