VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has a daunting task ahead. The civic body has just 50 days left to collect more than 50 % of property tax for the current financial year. GVMC officials will race against time from Monday to recover tax arrears of about Rs 86 crore before March 31 to complete the civic body's financial commitments.
Official records show that the civic body collected only Rs 85 crore of the targeted Rs 170.77 crore in the last 10 months. With just 50 days left for the financial year to close, officials find it hard to convince property tax payers to clear the dues without delay.
The city has 4,11,537 tax payers spread over eight zones including newly merged Anakapalle and Bheemili municipal areas. GVMC commissioner MV Satyanarayana is now busy taking all possible measures to collect at least 90% of the targeted amount. He had instructed tax collectors to realise Rs 1.5 crore daily. But, tax collectors could collect between Rs 20 lakh and 50 lakh per day.
"We know it is difficult to reach the target within short period. However, we are taking all possible measures to reach the target of Rs 171 crore by March 31. There was gap in tax collection due to Samaikyandhra stir and other factors. Last year, our staff did a commendable job. This year too, I am expecting good show," the GVMC commissioner said.
Out of 4,11,537 property tax assessees, 3.55 lakh fall under residential category, and 41,173 come under commercial category. Around 15,088 asseseees come under residential-cum-commercial category. The GVMC limits include Gajuwaka, Madhurawada, Anakapalle, Bheemili, Gopalapatnam, Industrial Area, Dwarakanagar, MVP Colony, Visakhapatnam Beach, Sagarnagar, NAD Kotta Road, Sithammadhara, Siripuram Junction, and Peda Waltair.
While 51,057 assessments fall under Zone-I, 67,912 in Zone-2, 45,020 in Zone-3, 81,243 in Zone-4, 85,619 in Zone-5, 49,955 in Zone-6, 18,359 in Anakapalle and 12,372 assessments in Bheemili.
The GVMC has taken several measures to reach the property tax target. Apart from serving notices repeatedly, the GVMC has also started disconnecting water connection of defaulters.
A senior revenue officer admitted that about 1500 taps were disconnected. "We have disconnected nearly 1500 taps this year. However, there are no municipal taps in Zone-VI and Anakapalle. We have disconnected 300 taps in Zone-V alone," the officer added.
Collecting property tax arrears before March 31 is important for the civic body as it has several ongoing development programmes up its sleeves. It has to complete works under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The civic body's contribution under JNNURM is 30 per cent of the project cost.