Today's Paper

VLT moves open up layout largesse

G.V. Prasada Sarma

While the issue of collecting vacant land tax (VLT) by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation is in a limbo, the move has thrown light on the extent of housing layouts. After collection of VLT for a few days, the drive was cold-shouldered following stiff opposition from several quarters.

While the central portion or what was erstwhile corporation has very few layouts, the areas that are merged in it forming the GVMC have the lion's share of the layouts on which VLT is sought to be levied. According to sources, the total number of layouts approved by the VUDA since 1994 is 310 comprising around 20,000 plots covering an area of 2,137 acres.

Preferred destination

Zone I comprising Madhurawada, Yendada and Rushikonda, among other parts, is a preferred destination not only for housing but for IT and a host of educational institutions. It has a total of 94 layouts comprising more than 7,500 plots and accounts for an extent of nearly 940 acres.

Gajuwaka, Old Gajuwaka, Lankelapalem, the steel plant, Dibbapalem, Kurmannapalem that comprise Zone V have 45 layouts with around 5,500 plots covering 475 acres. Zone VI that covers Pendurthy, Gopalapatnam, Adavavivaram, Chinamushidivada etc has 68 layouts with around 6,600 plots in an extent of 700 acres.

However, considering other layouts also, it has been estimated that the 72 wards of GVMC have 40,000 plots and a revenue of Rs.15 crores can be realised from it. But the hopes of officials of realising revenue have been put paid to owing to opposition to VLT and the announcement of the Mayor that the council would take up the issue for discussion.

Though 4,489 persons took the forms from municipal offices, only 2,062 returned them with the relevant forms. The total VLT collected from 700 assessees was around Rs.35 lakhs. Officials point out that cities like Vijayawada, Guntur and Rajahmundry are collecting the VLT as per the market rate for a period of three years. Collection of VLT is necessary to encourage construction, extension of the city and thereby take development to the suburbs.

But the Mayor said the council would debate reducing VLT, payment in instalments and exempting those holding small plots. However, any resolution passed by the corporation will have to be incorporated into the relevant act by the Government by making amendments as the order applies to the entire State.

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