The newly trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi has renewed the efforts made by its parent body to bring more residents of the city under the property tax ambit.
The Property Tax department has written to Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna seeking approval for collection of tax from unauthorised colonies.
The department has also attached with the letter the legal opinion of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India, Vivek Tankha, validating its proposal.
The officials estimate an earning of almost Rs 350 crore from such colonies. There are approximately 1,600 unauthorised colonies in Delhi.
“We have received the legal opinion of the ASG on the issue. He opines that our basis of charging house tax from unauthorised colonies is legally sound and those who are not paying house tax in such colonies, can be charged,” said M S A Khan, Assessor and Collector (North corporation) who also holds the charge for East and South.
If the proposal is approved by the L-G, the three civic agencies will begin to collect tax from unauthorised colonies from July.
ASG Tankha said, “I have also asked the corporation that it should take care of hygiene and penetration of its services in unauthorised colonies. When one-third of the city lives in unauthorised colonies, one cannot close one’s eyes to the condition that they live in.”
The attempt to charge house tax from unauthorised colonies was also made under the unified MCD, but it was thwarted by councillors who raised objections claiming when no civic work is being done by the agency in such colonies and hence the MCD cannot charge them. Congress state president J P Aggarwal had also met the L-G then to request that the proposal be stopped.
Following the protests, the corporation had sought legal advice on the matter, senior officials said. “After trifurcation, each corporation is looking for avenues to generate revenue. Lack of funds has crippled North and East corporations. The Capital has seen proliferation of residential units in unauthorised colonies,” said a senior official.
An official said the authorities were puzzled over the expenditure the agency was incurring on the civic amenities provided in the unauthorised colonies. A survey was, therefore, conducted to assess the number of residential units in unauthorised colonies.
The new properties in unauthorised colonies have not been brought under the tax net yet, causing an annual loss of around Rs 350 crore to the Property Tax department, the official said.