Corporation gearing to collect outstanding dues

Defaulters of property tax payment should get ready to face penal action, as the Madurai Corporation is gearing up to collect huge outstanding dues to set right its balance sheet by March 31.

With poor revenue collection the local body is already facing hand-to-mouth existence what with disbursal of salary and pension itself becoming an uphill task for the officials, least to talk about development works.

Members of the new council had been complaining about their demands on taking up maintenance and development works.

Since the fiscal is fast drawing to a close, the focus of the authorities has now turned towards the bill collectors. The shabby show in tax collection that has been less than 70 per cent in the last 11 months has to be made up in the next 22 days.

As against over Rs. 70 crore total demand of tax for 2011-12, the collection, so far, has been only around Rs. 50 crore, sources said.

The Corporation Commissioner, N. Arumuga Nainar (in-charge), has been trying to motivate the bill collectors in showing better results to meet the fast waning deadline.

He held meetings with the bill collectors of each zone on Wednesday and Thursday giving them tough targets.

“The Commissioner has divided our total outstanding dues by 22 (the number of remaining days in the fiscal) and fixed the daily targets for all of us. We have been asked to make use of all legal ways of making the defaulters pay their dues,” one of the bill collectors said.

The bill collectors have been instructed to turn up for work early in the mornings and work till late in the evenings and also on Sundays.

All the computerised tax collection centres would work on all the three remaining Sundays.

The bill collectors have been directed to approach all the defaulters daily.

“If they do not respond positively, we have been asked to issue notice and take up penal actions like disconnecting water supply. If still they do not pay, we have been instructed to go ahead with distraint proceedings,” they said.

When some of them complained about political interference, the Commissioner has asked them to provide details of such incidents to him so that he could take up the issue with the Mayor, V.V. Rajan Chellappa, another bill collector said.

The Commissioner has made a fervent appeal to the bill collectors to cooperate with the officials so that Madurai city, which ranked one of the lowest among all the Corporations in tax collection, could put up better performance.