The Corporation is banking on the Revenue Department website to identify the owners of vacant lands
Straightforwardness with the straightforward, crookedness with the crooked seems to be the mantra of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation. The VMC officials have found out a new way to trace owners of vacant lands, who have been evading vacant land tax (VLT).
The Corporation is unable to collect the VLT for various reasons including non-availability of addresses of owners. To tide over this situation, the Corporation is banking on the Revenue Department website to zero in on the owners of vacant lands. So far it could collect the addresses of 50 persons. Most of these vacant lands were found in Bharati Nagar area. While some of the owners are residing in Hyderabad and far-off places (according to revenue records), some of them are in the city. The Corporation, however, served notices on all of them. The authorities are contemplating replicating the procedure in every revenue ward of the city as the plan yielded positive results. There is, however, a glitch: data on the website available is from the year 2000 only. So, the Corporation authorities are toying with idea of the Hyderabad model. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is insisting that the applicant obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the revenue wing to approve the building plan, officials said.
The collection of VLT has become a Herculean task for the VMC. As much as Rs.20 crore VLT arrears are pending as the addresses of vacant land owners are not traceable. The Corporation could collect about Rs.4.5 crore per annum during last two years though the total VLT target would be around Rs.8 crore per annum.
The VLT collections improved during the last fiscal compared to previous years. The VLT collections stood at Rs.7.34 crore for 2012-13 as against the previous year’s Rs.4.58 crore. From Rs.50.37 lakhs collected from the existing 1,300 assessments in 2003-04, it went up to Rs.5 crore from 9,500 assessments in 2007-08.