Vacant Land Tax arrears touch Rs. 20 crore

The collection of Vacant Land Tax (VLT) has become a Herculean Task for the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (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. There is a slight improvement in the tax collection if Rs. 5.9 crore till date were any indication. There are more than 12,000 VLT assessments in the VMC limits.

The Corporation authorities, in 2009, have put up at least 150 boards across the city, cautioning the owners of vacant lands that their property would be seized if the tax is not paid in time.

The move, expectedly, triggered a lot of hue and cry. But, there was a quantum jump in the tax collection.

Very shortly such notice boards will be put up at vacant lands where the owner’s address is not traceable, officials say. On other hand, the vacant lands, the VMC officials say, were posing health hazards as the owners were not maintaining them properly leading to mosquito breeding etc. The haphazard growth of weed and stagnation of sullage and rainwater in many vacant lands is common sight in the city.

Consequently, the Corporation is again toying with the idea of auctioning the vacant lands that are posing health problems.

The VMC took ‘a calculated risk’ of auctioning the “unclaimed” vacant lands in 2007 when Natarajan Gulzar was Municipal Commissioner, they recall.

“Under the HMC (Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) Act, the Corporation has right to sell the unclaimed vacant lands. The VMC would become the owner of unclaimed vacant lands under the provisions of the HMC Act. Secondly, the owners were not paying the vacant land tax. In addition, the public health is involved in the issue, the officials say.

  • Vacant lands posing health hazards, say the VMC officials

  • The corporation is toying with the idea of auctioning the vacant lands