Councillors say civic body has lost out on property tax
A council meeting on Tuesday saw City Mayor Prof. A.K. Premajam quote official records to state that there are 69 completed residential flats within Corporation limits, but she was not able to give a definite answer as to how many housing units each of these flats have within.
Opposition councillors point to this lapse as an indication that the civic body may have failed to identify and number individual housing units within residential apartment complexes in the city.
Socialist Janata (Democratic) [SJD] councillor P. Kishen Chand said that this oversight, which may extend back to over a decade, means ‘huge revenue loss’ in terms of property tax revenue collection for the civic body.
The issue came to light when Mr. Kishenchand’s fellow SJD party councillor N.C. Moinkutty sought a specific reply from the Mayor on how many residential flats, over 15 metres tall, have been completed within city limits.
His second question was whether any of the individual units in these apartment complexes have been numbered.
As of now, a single number is given to the residential flat. Individual units within are not provided door numbers. This is the separate duty of house owners.
Dissatisfied with the Mayor’s reply, Mr. Moinkutty persisted with his line of query.
“The Mayor has to give me a definite answer. I filed these queries with the Mayor’s office in March 2013. I have not had answer to my questions for the past nine months. Now, you have to come up with a straight answer and not quoted blindly from what the officials have given you,” said the councillor launching his offensive.
Over 150 units
Opposition councillors pitched in, saying each apartment complex may host a minimum 150 units and many of these complexes are high-rises. “People have been staying in these numberless units for over 10 years without paying any tax. This is a major revenue loss to a cash-strapped civic body,” Deputy Opposition Leader and IUML councillor K. Mohammedali said. The Mayor promised to study the matter in detail and come up with a comprehensive answer to the queries.