Audit brings out Kochi Corporation lapses

Kochi corp failed in complying with norms of tax collection and utilising Smart City fund.

KOCHI: The annual audit report of the Local Fund Audit department for fiscal 2016-17 found very serious lapses and irregularities by Kochi Corporation in various sectors. Lapses were found in all sections including accounts, asset register, water supply, waste management, town planning, road works, Mayor’s development funds, ferry service, tax collection and licensing and registration. The Audit Department report indicated that the civic authorities had failed in complying with the norms for tax collection stipulated by municipal rules. The report also mentioned the poor performance of the civic body in utilising the Rs 396 crore allocated under the Smart City Mission.

Though the Corporation had to collect Rs 57.14 crore as property tax and Rs 16.88 crore as default tax during the fiscal, it failed in tax collection and in properly documenting the amount collected. Since the documents like demand register and the default demand register were not properly updated, the audit department could not assess the actual revenue loss. The civic body also failed in collecting advertisement tax, employment tax and other licence and registration fees. The Corporation did not make any effort to collect Rs 62.09 lakh as the fees for various services and permits given during the fiscal. A total of Rs 2.40 crore as rent from buildings owned by the civic body could not be fully collected.

It was found that despite having 245 vehicles, the civic body spent Rs 4.44 crore to hire trucks for waste removal. If maintenance and repairing of vehicles is not properly done, the Corporation will continue to suffer a revenue loss, according to the audit report. The Corporation owes Rs 24.08 crore to the State Library Council as library cess. There are many firms in the city functioning without a licence and many educational firms like parallel colleges, tutorial centres and paramedical institutions operating without mandatory registration causing a huge revenue loss to the civic body’s exchequer.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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