The BMC Tuesday seized two helicopters of Mesco Airlines Limited, a Delhi-based aviation company, over non-payment of property tax worth Rs 1.64 crore. The civic body also disconnected the water connection of Wadhawa Trade Centre at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) over property tax dues worth Rs 11.88 crore.
The civic body has given 21 days to Mesco, operating from Vile Parle, to pay the dues. Else, it will auction the helicopters, said officials. “The amount is pending for two years. Last year, we had disconnected water connection to the company’s property (35,000 square feet) at Vile Parle. Still, the tax was not paid. So, we decided to seize two helicopters of the company,” said an official from BMC’s assessor and collector department.
On Wadhawa Trade Centre, another official said: “We disconnected water supply on Tuesday. Despite several follow ups, they have failed to pay up.”
While Mesco could not be reached for a comment, Wadhwa, in a statement, said its property was not located in BKC but at the Kurla-Kalina area. “The said property is in Kurla-Kalina where the ready reckoner rates are nearly half compared to BKC. But for our trade centre, BMC has applied 20 per cent more property tax than BKC. We have been constantly writing to the BMC but they are reminding us to pay the dues, which has not been calculated properly,” a spokeperson said.
“Now, like previous years, we will pay this amount under protest and expect that the ready reckoner rate will be corrected in the next few months,” the spokeperson added.
Facing a dip in revenue collection, BMC has decided to go after big defaulters. It plans to seize movable properties, including air-conditioners, television sets, and furniture, of the defaulters for the recovery of pending dues.
Until now, based on its 2016 policy, BMC used to send notices to the defaulters and had started disconnecting water connections of defaulters for three weeks besides sealing lifts and entrance to the properties. Officials said though they had earlier decided to seize movable properties, excluding “stree dhan” (gold jewellery gifted to woman during marriage), of defaulters, the decision was never implemented.
During the presentation of the budget for 20-21, BMC Commis-sioner Praveen Pardeshi had said property tax dues have accumulated to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore. In 2019-20, BMC set the target to collect tax worth Rs 5016.19 crore, but it could collect only Rs 1,387 crore till end of November 2019. Officials said the projected property tax revenue might take a hit owing to the state government’s move to exempt houses measuring less than 500 sq ft in Mumbai from tax purview.
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