IN ORDER to recover property tax dues from defaulters, the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) recently decided to dump garbage on the premises of such properties. Officials from the KDMC said the action was undertaken following orders from Municipal Commissioner E Ravendiran.
KDMC officials said following the civic chief’s order, garbage was dumped on the premises of NRC Limited (formerly National Rayon Corporation Ltd) in Kalyan Tuesday. The company has a prime property, around 350 acres of land, in Kalyan.
“The company has Rs 55 crore as outstanding property tax dues, unpaid for many years,” said Sunil Patil, ward officer of A Ward who led a team to dump garbage on the company’s premises.
Senior officials from the civic body said the company had not paid dues for more than a decade. “The NRC is the biggest property tax defaulter of the KDMC. Despite repeated notices, it has failed to pay up dues. In February 2016, we also attached the company’s property and put up a board stating the restrictions on transferring the property. The move to dump garbage on the premises is aimed at recovering property tax dues from big defaulters,” said the official.
Despite repeated attempts, Ravendiran was unavailable for comment.
However, the civic body’s conservancy staff and drivers were beaten up by local residents when they went to dump garbage at the site Tuesday. “There was some misunderstanding. The locals thought we are making a dumpyard in their colony. Police protection was sought at the site. Then, the civic officials convinced the locals after which they were allowed to dump the garbage there,” explained the official.
On Wednesday, the drivers of the garbage vehicles were on strike as mark of protest for the assault on the drivers. However, officials said the drivers called off their strike in the afternoon and resumed duty.
Officials maintained the action would be continued further in coming days. “As per the civic chief’s order, we will continue to dump garbage in the premises of certain defaulters, wherever there are non-residential areas,” said Patil.
However, representatives of NRC termed the action as “wrong” and said this was not the proper way to recover the dues. “It is absolutely wrong on the part of the civic body to dump garbage. The civic body should have auctioned the property or approached the court for recovery. It is very strange that the civic body, which is supposed to collect the garbage under the Swachh Bharat Mission, is doing this,” said a representative from NRC Ltd.
The representative further said the property tax dues of Rs 55 crore was a disputed sum. “The dispute has been going on for some time. In any case, the amount would not be more than Rs 30 crore. We have challenged it. Recently, in Lok Adalat, the civic body had agreed to settle it but then refused to sign the order,” the representative added.
When contacted, M S Shekhawant, joint president (works) of NRC Limited, said, “The civic body’s action is wrong and the legal team is looking into it.”