Staff Reporter

Idea was to make case for hiking property tax

VIJAYAWADA: Representatives of various associations and interest groups in the city opposed in one voice the proposed revised rental values of residential and non-residential properties, at a meeting organised by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) officials on Thursday in a bid to create awareness for various sections of society of the exercise to revise the property tax rates. VMC officials faced stiff opposition, despite an impressive information-rich power point presentation made on the property tax scenario in the city by Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) B. Nagendra Kumar. He tried to impress upon the representatives of various associations who turned up for the meeting the role of property tax in delivering various services to people. But his argument that the new rental values notified on September 8 were not an “abnormal enhancement” failed to cut ice with representatives.

Chaotic scenes

His presentation ended abruptly, as the representatives grew restive and showed no interest in the corporation’s balance sheet. Chaos prevailed at the meeting when representatives of every organisation tried to present their case. Mr. Nagendra Kumar’s assertion that property tax was the main source of revenue for the corporation attracted criticism from the Tax Payers Association (TPA) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

TPA president V. Sambi Reddy said the corporation was not making any effort to get its due share from the State Government. Lack of financial discipline and misuse of funds were forcing the corporation to hike the property tax exorbitantly, he maintained. IMA State working committee member P. Venkateswarlu suggested that the corporation treat property tax as only one of its major revenues. Amidst the din, Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Gaddam Subba Rao said: “We have to sell our properties if the tax will have to be paid for the proposed revised rental values.” Dr. Venkateswarlu felt that commercial activity in the city had already come down following the growth of other cities and towns in the vicinity like Tenali, Guntur and Mangalagiri. TPA secretary M.V. Anjaneyulu expressed the view that growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was only 32 per cent, while the corporation hiked the rental values by 200 per cent to 400 per cent. Vijaywada Hoteliers Association secretary K. Pattabhi Ram, Vijayawada Ratepayers’ Association secretary U.V. Narasaraju, Vijayawada Dal and Kirana Merchants’ Association president Ramesh, Cloth Merchants Association president Voleti Subramanyam and general secretary Guggilam Vijaya Kumar and others spoke.