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‘Covid effect’: Under pressure from ruling BJP, PCMC administration stays properties tax hike

The hike in property tax—especially for those who began construction before 2005-2006—was to take effect from the new fiscal year.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
April 1, 2021 10:42:11 am
Pune news, Pune city news, PCMC, PCMC administration, Covid effect, Pune covid cases, properties tax hike PuneThe civic administration has increased property tax on 2.5 lakh old residential properties and over 3 lakh non-residential properties in the industrial city.

Buckling under pressure from the ruling BJP ahead of the 2022 civic elections, the civic administration of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has decided to not implement the hike on property tax from (April 1). The hike in property tax—especially for those who began construction before 2005-2006—was to take effect from the new fiscal year.

The decision stays the hike came after a delegation of the ruling BJP in PCMC met Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil yesterday. The delegation included Mayor Usha Dhore, BJP House leader Namdeo Dhake and standing committee chairman Nitin Landge. “Following the meeting, the muncipal commissioner has passed an order putting a stay on implementation of the hike on old properties,” Deputy Municipal Commissioner Smita Zagade told The Indian Express this morning. “The hike in property tax will not be implemented from today,” she added.

When contacted, the mayor said the BJP delegation that met the municipal commissioner tried to impress upon him the need to postpone the hikein view of the Covid pandemic. “Covid has hit the economy and the citizens hard. Many citizens have lost their jobs and some had to take big salary cuts. In view of this, we told the municipal commissioner not to hike the property tax,” the mayor said.

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Dhore also said since this was an election year, it won’t be appropriate for the administration to hike the property tax. “We also told the administration that in the election year, the hike is not justified,” she said.

The BJP also decided to approach the state government had the administration refused the demand. “We have been opposing the move…we had rejected the proposal in the standing committee meeting and even the civic general body meeting,” said Dhake. The NCP and Shiv Sena, the opposition parties in PCMC, had also opposed the hike.

The property tax was hiked by Patil’s predecessor Shravan Hardikar over two months back. His administration underlined on several occassions that they didn’t the civic general body’s permission to hike the tax on old properties as special powers vested with the municipal commissioner allowed the same.

The civic administration has increased property tax on 2.5 lakh old residential properties and over 3 lakh non-residential properties in the industrial city.

Zagade said the tax on old properties was hiked as there was a huge gap between per square feet rate of old and new properties. She said the hike on new properties was nominal.

For instance, on old properties belonging to 1990-91, the per square feet rate applicable was only Rs 5.40.

“However, if someone purchases properties today, the per square feet rate is Rs 29.94. We wanted to reduce the widening gap and have, therefore, increased the property tax on old properties,” Zagade said.

According to the new property tax hike plan, which has now been stayed at least for a year, the rate has gone up from Rs 5.40 per sq ft to Rs 11 per sq ft. “So far, you were paying Rs 1,080. Property tax will be doubled,” said Zagade, adding that only the property tax in case of a flat purchased in 1990-91 will be doubled while the rest will have a much lower hike.

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