`Ambiguity in Govt.'s stand has affected tax collection'

HASSAN, MARCH 17. Defending the Hassan City Municipal Council (CMC) over the collection of property tax, the president of the council, G.T. Kumar, has said that frequent changes in the Government's stand on the Self Assessment Scheme (SAS) has hindered the process of collecting taxes in the city to a large extent.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday after presenting a surplus budget of Rs. 17.09 lakhs, he said that after the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) revises the tax structure, the council will incur a loss of Rs. 75 lakhs and tax collection will reduce to Rs. 1.25 crore.

The council received a communication from the directorate on February 24 on the revised form of the SAS.

The revised system has also been brought to the notice of the people though the media, he added.

List of defaulters

A list of property tax defaulters in 35 wards has been prepared and efforts are on to collect the tax from them. The arrears collected will be used to beautify the city.

Though a tender for Rs. 1.65 crores was floated, the directorate rejected it on the grounds that there is a shortage of funds in the council to take up the work.

However the council is planning to raise Rs. 2.5 crores from auctioning sites in Hunisikere extension, he said.

It was decided at the recent meeting of Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT), convened by the Deputy Commissioner, K.H. Ashwathanarayana Gowda, to auction sites and accrue the funds required for taking up development works in the city.

Notice issued

The council has issued a notice to Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL), which has set up a high tap point on the outskirts of the city, to remit a land cess of Rs. 2 crores.

However after several rounds of discussion, HPCL authorities have agreed to pay Rs. 34 lakhs. However, they have not paid the amount agreed upon yet, he said.

HPCL has utilized 8 acres of land belonging to the council, he added.

Action plan

The council had prepared an action plan of Rs. 68 crores four months ago and submitted it to the Chief Minister.

But they are yet to receive any communication regarding the plan from the Secretariat.

If the plan is approved by the Government, it will give a new lease of life to the people of Hassan as the city is now facing a number of civic problems he said.

The Hassan Urban Development Authority has agreed to hand over all parks in the city to the council for development.

As the council is experiencing a shortage of funds, it has decided to hand over the maintenance of these parks to various social organisations.

Regarding the illegal encroachment of property belonging to the council, Mr. Kumar said that nearly 20 per cent of the property belonging to council has been encroached upon. But he said that efforts are on to evict these encroachments and reclaim these spaces.

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