BANGALORE: Every year the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike sets itself a target to collect property tax. And ever year, it comes woefully short of the target. This year, the cash-strapped civic agency has come up with a novel excuse for its failure: elections.
The Palike had aimed at collecting Rs 2,500 crore in 2013-14. Forget reaching just mid-way, the collection this time was worse compared with 2012-13.
In the previous financial year, the Palike had collected Rs 1,358 crore. This year, it declined to Rs 1,330 crore. The reason it gives: Around 700 officials of BBMP’s revenue department were deployed for election duty.
According to BBMP, revenue inspectors, tax inspectors and assistant revenue officers were busy on election duty, as they were involved in voter enrolment, issuing of voter ID cards and other election-related works for the past three months, which is the crucial time to collect tax.
“Another reason why the Palike has never succeeded in collecting the fixed target of property tax is because it has not been revised since 2008. Revision of property tax rates is being postponed every year. Added to this is lack of awareness among citizens to pay up tax before April 30. Whatever the reason, the shortfall may not be recovered,” BBMP officials admitted.
City mayor BS Sathyanarayana told TOI: “Now that elections are over, we will intensify the drive to mop up revenue.”