Councillor Ramesh says up to Rs. 60 cr. tax can be collected from over 8,000 PG hostels in city
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is once again considering bringing paying guest accommodations and service apartments under the commercial tax bracket.
During the BBMP council meeting here on Tuesday, Yediyur councillor N.R. Ramesh pointed out that there were more than 8,000 PG hostels in the city. If all the PG accommodations are brought under the commercial tax net, BBMP can raise revenue up to Rs. 60 crore every year, he said, adding that action should be taken against officials who do not update tax-related records and fail to collect taxes on time.
However, the BBMP’s Revenue Department claimed that there were only 272 PG hostels in the city, and that property tax totalling from which Rs. 31.17 lakh was being collected from their owners every year.
The other councillors, including Opposition Leader B.N. Manjunath Reddy and the former Mayor S.K. Nataraj agreed with Mr. Ramesh, and said, “Several times in the past also Mr. Ramesh had suggested ways to increase tax revenue, but officials have not acted on it.”
Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana said revenue and tax inspectors had been asked to visit at least 25 properties each day to check whether tax has been paid. “But nothing much has been done in this regard,” he lamented.
BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan said under the Self Assessment Scheme, PG hostels are classified as tenanted accommodations.
He added that he would direct the assistant revenue officers to look into the list of properties provided by Mr. Ramesh and submit a report in a months’ time.
Nagapura councillor S. Harish, who brought to light several instances where officials allegedly wasted tax payers’ money by issuing tender notifications in newspapers. He said many tender notifications had been published as classified advertisements in newspapers without the officials bringing it to the notice of the Commissioner.
According to the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, there is no need to float tenders and publish notifications for works worth up to Rs. 2 lakh.
However, there were instances where officials floated tenders for works costing up to Rs. 1 lakh.
“In many instances, the cost of the tender notification is more than the actual work itself. In many instances, soon after the notification is published, a corrigendum is also released,” he said.
Mr. Harish claimed that last year, the BBMP spent Rs. 5.29 crore on notifications and an additional Rs. 52 lakh on getting corrigenda printed. “What is the reason behind the officials placing so many tender notifications? Is there any ulterior motive?” he asked.
He added that while a tender notification can be published only thrice, there were instances when BBMP officials had got it published nine times as they had not got any response.