More illegal houses come to light
Jan 12, 2013
Source : The Times Of India
HYDERABAD: More irregularities pertaining to unauthorised constructions in Manikonda and Poppalguda gram panchayats have come to light in the fresh probe launched by officials into structures that came up in these villages in the recent past.

Several multi-storied buildings were not assessed for property tax, while some structures (ground and three floors) were constructed with forged signatures. Manikonda panchayat secretary Mohan Rao had even filed a complaint with the Rayadurg police alleging that his signatures were forged and fake documents were made for building permissions, which were released by former sarpanch Laxmamma and bill collector V Ramulu.

Officials said as of now property tax collection from buildings in Manikonda is about Rs 23 lakh, while the original demand from all the buildings, including the unauthorised ones would be Rs 5 crore. The panchayats have not been collecting tax from builders on the pretext of shortage of manpower. Interestingly, the officials have even raised doubts that many permitted buildings were not assessed by the panchayats. Sources said building rules permit assessment of illegal buildings for collection of property tax after levying an additional tax by taking an affidavit from property owners that the property tax payment does not give any legal right to them. Though there were clear directions from the government, Manikonda panchayat officials had not been assessing the illegal buildings. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has been assessing illegal buildings and even collecting 25% additional tax from property owners for the past few years. "The panchayat has no data on how many building permissions were given in Manikonda since 2006. Now, an exercise has been taken up to check all files and documents to arrive at the number of building permissions granted so far," Manikonda special officer KV Raghava Chary told TOI on Thursday.

"A door-to-door survey is being taken up by Poppalguda panchayat by forming eight special teams to check whether builders/ property owners have building permission released by grampanchayat or Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA)," Raghava Chary said.

Interestingly, Manikonda and Poppalguda Builders' Association has blamed panchayat officials for not assessing properties. "We agree that there are about 1,000 illegal buildings in the jurisdiction of Manikonda and Poppalguda panchayats. We have been asking the panchayats to carry out assessment for collection of property tax, but they have been ignoring our pleas," A Kalyan, president of Manikonda and Poppalguda Builders' Association, said. "Since many structures were raised and people even occupied them, we request the state government to regularise the illegal buildings by collecting some penal amount on the lines of the Building Penalisation Scheme. A representation will be submitted to municipal minister M Maheedhar Reddy soon," Kalyan added.

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