While the civic body’s new property tax bills have left the citizens a confused lot, they have now raised concerns over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) keeping slums out of the tax net.
Calling the move a ‘discrimination,’ citizens have pointed out that slums enjoy the same civic facilities that other legal properties in the city do. “To fulfil the mandate of the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban National Renewal Mission to get more funds, the BMC has to bring 85% property owners in the city under the system. But as it has been unable to do so, it has increased the rates. Now, taxpayers who have been paying the civic body regularly are burdened with the new system,” president of Sahar Citizens Forum, Godfrey Pimenta said.
Pimenta added that slum dwellers have been kept out of the new system as taxing them would cost the elected representatives in the upcoming elections. “While 60% of the city’s population lives in slums, keeping a majority of the slums out of the new property tax system is nothing but discrimination,” he said.
However, the civic administration said it is levying the tax on around 17-18% of the slums in the city which are on municipal land. “At present, the slums that are on municipal land are being levied the new property tax,” additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said.
Jalota added that a study of the remaining slums is being carried out to decide on how to tax them. “For the other properties, we are carrying out a study with the help of the Mumbai University. This will be done in next six months,” he said.
Shivaji Park resident Ashok Rawat said, “I wonder why the BMC has excluded slum dwellers from the new property tax system.”
In a nutshell
- While 60% of the city’s population live in slums, only 17-18% of the slums in the city are being levied the tax
- The BMC approved the new capital value-based property tax system in June last year. It replaced the earlier rental or rateable value-based system
The corporation started sending out the new property tax bills for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 to citizens in January and gave citizens 21 days to raise objections