Only 30 of 285 devices are functional, affecting door-to-door collection

The door-to-door collection of property tax has been affected in the city following damage to a large number of handheld devices that are used for the purpose. Of the 285 handheld devices procured in 2010, less than 30 machines are currently being used by tax collectors of the Chennai Corporation.

According to sources in Chennai Corporation, property tax collection has “slowed down significantly” due to various factors including faulty handheld devices. The collection of property tax per day is around Rs. 2 crore and most of the tax collectors without the devices have started issuing manual receipts to property tax assessees.

“The use of manual receipts has led to the pile-up of property tax arrears. If the handheld machines are used, oldest arrears are adjusted automatically. But the manual receipt is a hindrance to speedy collection of tax arrears,” said an official of Chennai Corporation. Door-to-door collection from around 12 lakh assessees in the city has been affected by the faulty handheld machines.

“The company that supplied the handheld devices has been unable to replace the faulty devices so far. So, tax collectors have been forced to surrender them to the EDP cell and get an acknowledgement for issue of manual receipt. But there are also allegations of tax collectors damaging some devices on their own for defrauding the civic body,” said an employee of Chennai Corporation.

Assessees who pay arrears to the Corporation through the devices would have to clear the outstanding before they pay the current dues. Many tax collectors have started to issue manual receipts for current dues for assessees who have not paid arrears.

Linked to server

The hand-held devices are linked to the main server of the civic body at Ripon Building and officials monitor the work of the tax collectors on a real-time basis. The devices would accept credit/debit cards, demand drafts and cheques.

“The pre-bid meeting for procurement of 300 handheld devices with advanced technology was held recently. A new vendor for supply of the machines will be identified shortly,” said an official of Chennai Corporation.

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