HYDERABAD: Going by the comments of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, it is easy to encroach upon government land in the Greater Vissakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) area.
In its report for the period ending in March 2014, the CAG found that the GVMC was not maintaining the title deeds for any of its properties in Vizag city. The report was tabled in the AP assembly on Friday.
According to the CAG, GVMC conducted a survey of the land in 2009, which revealed that it had 1,890 land parcels worth Rs 186.91 crore. However, the CAG report said, the GVMC did not maintain title deeds for any of these properties.
The CAG also found that GVMC was secretive about the land leased out to private individuals. Despite repeated requests, the list of land leased out to private parties was not made available to the CAG. As per the assessed register of GVMC, 38 land parcels of 65.39 acres were under encroachment as of December 2014. The action taken to resume these properties is not available in the records of the civic body, the CAG report said.
The CAG was also critical about the laxity of the corporation in realizing its own revenues and commented that it had never crossed 42 per cent even though it should be 49 per cent during 2009-2014. The corporation could realize a total or Rs 4,167 crore against the budgeted receipts of Rs 9,895 crore. The corporation projected Rs 3,562 crore as "its own revenue" but could realize just Rs 2,036 crore, which is short of Rs 1,526 crore, it said.
According to the CAG report, the failure to harness its own revenues effectively affected the per capita grant from the state government and surcharge on stamp duty in the last five years. On how the GVMC lost the revenue, the CAG pointed out that the corporation under-assessed the plinth area of business houses and collected less tax.
Citing the example of Chandana Brothers Multi Complex Ltd, the CAG report said officials of the corporation did not assess for tax purposes the cellar and sub-cellar and also a room in the fifth floor, causing a property tax loss of about Rs 108 lakh during 2010-14. The corporation also showed favour to the complex owners by not assessing the properties on a commercial basis, which resulted in the short assessment of Rs 37 lakh, the CAG said.
Similarly, the corporation also lost revenue of Rs 42.86 lakh in the case of GITAM, located in Madhuravada area, as GVMC brought the institute into tax net from 2008 instead of 2006, the report said.
Another area the GVMC lost huge revenue is because of its failure to bring about 2.53 lakh residential properties under the property tax net. The CAG compared the number of property assessments with the number of electricity connections as of March 2014.
"While 6.20 lakh low tension service connections were provided by electricity department (APEPDCL) up to 2013-2014 under residential category, the corporation assessed property tax in respect of only 3.67 lakh (41 per cent) residential properties," the CAG said and commented that, "the possibility of omitting several properties from the tax net cannot be ruled out."