Hyderabad: Due to rampant corruption at the ground level, the GHMC has been losing out on Rs 4,000 crore in the form of property tax. Against the demand of Rs 4,000 crore and Rs 1,500 crore arrears, the civic body has been collecting a mere Rs 1,500 crore even as it complains about a funds crunch.
Corporation officials said that if the property tax is assessed accurately and collected timely, the civic body can fund infrastructure projects and regular maintainance works on its own. Instead, it was relying on external aid, bank loans and municipal bonds at a high rate of interest.
Highly-placed sources said that the civic body had conducted a preliminary verification of records to check the property tax account and found that if it collected the entire due, it could get Rs 4,000 crore annual tax and Rs 1,500 arrears.
If accurate assessments are made, the corporation can collect another `2,500 crore as property tax. It is alleged that bill collectors at the ground level are taking their cut and under-assessing properties.
Sources said that each bill collector has been engaging at least 10 persons unofficially to collect the property tax with the hand-held machines. Though over 100 cases were booked on bill collectors, the corporation is yet to find a solution to curb the rampant corruption at the ground level.
A senior GHMC official said that the corporation would use satellite pictures to assess the number of properties. The corporation had decided to hire a private agency with expertise in this field to inspect every property and assess the exact tax to be levied.
He said the corporation would bring all unassessed properties, including miscellaneous ones into the tax net to enhance the tax collection. It is planning to set up teams for accurate tax collection and will seek the help of state government to appoint professional bill collectors, he said.
The official further said that even though the corporation has the potential to collect 6,500 crore property tax annually, official apathy, corruption and lack of commitment has restricted collection to about Rs 1,500 crore during financial year 2017-18.
“Why should we have to rely on external financial aid and bank loans when we have the potential to fund all infrastructure projects, including regular maintenance,” he added....