Often at the receiving end of a great deal of criticism, the civic body has won high praise for simplifying property tax payments. In a citizen-friendly move, the corporation has started sending bills in the name of individual consumers instead of societies.
Under the new practice, citizens will have the freedom of clearing their dues on their own without being dependent on their housing societies. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also planning to include an option to pay property tax bills on its mobile application MCGM 24X7.
The option, which is likely to go live in September, will enable the public to clear dues anytime from anywhere in the world. Activists have welcomed the move, terming it a win-win proposition for both the civic body and Mumbaikars.
"We took the decision to help residents pay their bills as per their convenience than the society paying it. We expect more timely payments from residents in such a case," said Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajiv Jalota.
According to the BMC records, there are 2.72 lakh property-tax payers, including nearly 2 lakh societies. So far, the civic body has managed to issue separate bills in the names of about 65,000 residents. It plans to cover all property owners by next fiscal.
Civic activists said it was a long-standing demand on the part of many housing societies. They said if all is well amongst the members of a society, property tax bills are paid on time. However, in case of a dispute, some members stop paying maintenance bills thus putting pressure on other members.
"This leads to delays in clearing bills sometimes. Hence, receiving bill in a flat owners name will be of help. A person will be responsible for his/her bills only," said Raj Kumar Sharma, head of Chembur-based citizens' group advanced locality management and networking action committee.
Sharma though suggested the BMC should ensure it allows residents to clear bills through the mobile application as well as the citizen facilitation centres (CFCs). He added, "Not everybody, especially senior citizens, are threadbare with the technology. Hence, they may not use the BMC application and will still queue up at CFCs. The corporation should keep all ends open where people can clear dues."