HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has a big headache – to recover over Rs 678 crore pending property taxes – that too from a defaulter against whom the civic body cannot do anything – the government of Telangana!
Officials of the property tax wing of the GHMC said a whopping Rs 678.64 crore, out of a total Rs 714 crore property tax dues, is owed by the government.
The Pragathi Bhavan, the Chief Minister's official residence, has pending dues worth Rs 25,49,914 for the financial years 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21. The demolished Secretariat building was in default of a sum of over Rs 100 crore property tax since 2014-15. The prestigious D Block alone was a defaulter to the tune of Rs 42 crore.
According to official data collected from the GHMC sources, the state government has been allocating less than Rs 32 crore per annum at a time when the actual property tax demand was Rs 102 crore, on about 2,500 government buildings in the civic body limits.
During the financial year 2014-15, the first year after the formation of Telangana, the state government allocated Rs 20 crore in its annual budget and released Rs 20 crore. In 2015-16, the government allocated Rs 22 crore and released only Rs 11 crore.
In 2016-17, the amount provided was Rs 24.20 crore but no amount was released, while in 2017-18, the amount provided was Rs 29.04 crore and the amount released was Rs 4.36 crore. Though the government allocated Rs 31.94 crore in 2018-19, Rs 10 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 7.50 crore in 2020-21, it has not released a penny.
When asked about the year-wise individual property tax dues pertaining to government buildings within the GHMC limits, civic body authorities surprisingly said "it does not have any details".
They advised this correspondent to file an RTI to get the information. However, this newspaper independently found out that the total property dues was about Rs 714 crore but the government has paid only Rs 35.36 crore and is yet to clear the remainder of Rs 678.64 crore in the financial year 2020-21.
The GHMC data also revealed that the Pragathi Bhavan, with a property tax identification number 1170668303, door number 6-3-870/A, at the Khairatabad corporation office, has to clear Rs 25,49,914.
The Chief Minister’s office has to clear Rs 1,91,794 property tax dues, with accrued interest of Rs 34,524, during the first half on the financial year 2018-19, Rs 2,64,045 with interest of Rs 1,58,427 in the second half of the same financial year.
Its past dues are Rs 2,64,045 with interest Rs 1,26, 742 for the first half of 2019-20 and Rs 2,64,045 with interest of Rs 95,056 and Rs 2,64,045 with interest amount Rs 63,371 during first half of 2020-21 and Rs 2,64,045 with interest amount of Rs 31,685 during the second half.
The civic body has to receive Rs 15,12,019 principal amount pertaining to property tax excluding interest amount of Rs 5,09,805 till 2020-21. If the current year property tax is included, the Chief Minister’s residence would receive a Rs 5,28,090 bill. The total defaulted amount, including interest, is Rs 25,49,914.
When quizzed about the action taken by the GHMC to collect the tax dues from the Pragathi Bhavan, a senior official, who while requesting for anonymity, said the "property tax on government buildings would be mostly by book adjustments".
The official informed that he could neither share nor comment on the property tax dues pertaining to government buildings, fearing he should face the ire of his higher authorities, including the government....