BENGALURU: Implementing the action it had first proposed in early November, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has begun sealing off properties – only commercial ones so far – belonging to those who’ve defaulted on property tax across its eight zones since December 12.
As of Saturday, BBMP special commissioner Munish Moudgil said 500-600 commercial properties have been sealed off. “These are defaulters who’ve not paid or have underpaid taxes for years together. So far, we’ve served notices on 8,000-10,000 defaulters who together owe the BBMP around Rs 300 crore. The properties sealed belong to those who’ve got the notice and still not paid up.”
TOI was the first to report, in its November 6 edition, that the civic body was contemplating strict measures to recover pending taxes after deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar and BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath asked officials to pull up their socks.
While the Palike has begun sealing off commercial properties, Moudgil said, “Action against residential units will also follow. We’ll need to decide on what kind of action needs to be initiated against them.”
He added that the overall number of defaulters in the city is estimated at 6 lakh. “A lot of these defaulters will have a small amount, but there are several big defaulters too,” he said.
Across zones, some property owners are paying less tax by giving false information that their properties come under residential category even though they are being used for commercial purposes, while some others have simply defaulted. They are all liable for action under the BBMP Act, 2020.
Aside from sealing off properties, Moudgil had earlier said the BBMP would look at seizing cars or freezing bank accounts. “Seizure of property and auctioning of assets have not been initiated yet,” he said Saturday.
Stressful for officials?
Multiple BBMP officials on Saturday, through various means, indicated they felt overworked and were stressed. One representative of employees said two revenue officials had suffered heart attacks in Yelahanka zone while at least one more was in hospital for stress.
STOI has accessed at least three letters from officials that have been acknowledged by the BBMP chief commissioner’s office. The officials have expressed inability to handle stress and sought transfer or voluntary retirement. Two letters are dated December 15, while one was sent on December 14.
“I’ve not come across anybody suffering heart attacks. People are connecting unrelated issues. Each ward has a team of 4-5 members and each team needs to seal off only three properties a day, which shouldn’t be too much work,” Moudgil said.
The officials complaining, however, said the stress is from relentless work being done since the announcement of elections. “The work has never stopped. After elections, we are to implement various government schemes, verify properties, do tax-related and other work. While we have to seal off only three properties, many of them have multiple offices. Owners aren’t at the spot and we have to ward off complaining tenants. It’s getting very stressful,” one of them said.
Published On Dec 17, 2023 at 03:42 PM IST
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