Act of Corporation invites criticism from all quarters
SALEM: Citizens beware. If you do not pay the property tax, your houses will be stripped off doors.
The officials of the Salem Corporation here had resorted to this act of ‘removing the doors’ of three tiled houses on Mettu Theru in Dathagapatti here for the non-payment of property taxes, which expectedly drew criticisms from all quarters.
Residents in the street claimed that the civic officials came in a vehicle and removed the doors of these houses three days ago, despite pleas from the tenants thus forcing them to use mats as doors as cover. “With children we live in fear as our houses have no doors,” they alleged. Though they conceded that their house owner had committed the default of not paying the taxes to the tune of Rs. 5,000, the occupants, all middle and low income groups claimed that they were caught between these two, and hence, had been suffering for the past three days.
They charged that a number of big commercial establishments had not paid taxes to the civic body, running to several lakhs. The civic body had done very little to collect them. But the officials resort to such intimidating tactics against the poor, they alleged.
When contacted, Corporation Commissioner M. Jayaraman said that the civic body has the authority to attach the movable properties of tax defaulters.
“We have already served notices to the defaulters asking them to pay the dues. But many of them have failed to respond,” he said and added that the attached properties could be auctioned to realise the dues. “But in this case, we will return the doors if the assessees pay their dues,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Corporation has intensified its drive to improve the tax collection, as the tax arrears were running to several crores.