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Lure of tax rebates leads to 1000% jump in water harvesting in Pune

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 8:04am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Along with a 5 per cent rebate on property tax, societies will not have to spend on tankers either

Pune: When the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) announced tax rebates in the financial year 2009-2010 for housing societies that had rainwater harvesting projects, it hit the nail on the head. From the 44 housing societies that came forward by March 2010 for the five per cent rebate on property tax, the number shot up to 452 by the end of March 2014, an unbelievable 1000% jump, in barely five years. This year the department is expecting the number to double, as compared to previous years.
"We expect at least a 1,000 applications by March 2015," said Hemant Nikam, head of PMC's property tax department.
The rebate announced in 2010 is meant for residential complexes or bungalows that have either one or a combination of the following — rainwater harvesting system (RWHS), vermiculture, and solar energy projects. The PMC encourages projects such as RWH, as they help in compensating for water supply shortage.
Hemant Nikam, head of property tax department of PMC explained, "There is tax rebate for environmentally friendly and renewable energy projects. For rainwater harvesting, the PMC gives a property tax rebate of 5 per cent at the end of the financial year. An approximate amount of three-and-a-half crore is being rebated in the past five years to societies and bungalows having a proper RWH system."
In rupees, it means that on an average a two-BHK flat that pays Rs8,000 towards annual property tax, the rebate amount is Rs400. Put together an average housing society of 100-odd flats and a neat sum is saved annually — money that can be used for the society's development such as maintenance of club houses or getting new equipment in society gymnasiums.
Vimannagar's residential complex Green Land has been receiving rebate since 2010 and recovered the total cost of installing the RWH system — Rs28,000 — within four months.
The complex comprises 57 flats and each saves an average of Rs400. "Within four months, the dependency on water tankers reduced as the ground water got recharged and borewells started getting used. The cost of employing water tankers reduced and the annual rebate on property tax was like a bonus received," said Arjun Jagtap, a society member.
With the increasing demand for water supply, given the city's increasing urbanisation, population increase and stretching geographical limits and the dam capacity unlikely to change in the next couple of years, experts agree that RWH is the best solution to make societies self-sustainable.
"The current requirement of water for Pune city is increased to 16 thousand million cubic (TMC) and the graph will never go down. While the catchment area or the capacity of the four major dams will remain the same and the ground water level is depleting, rainwater harvesting is the best alternative choice," said Shashikant Dalvi, an expert on RWH.

Benefits of Rainwater harvesting project:
- Avails property tax rebate of 5 percent to owners of individual bungalows as well as flats
- Compensates for shortage of water supply or low availability of ground water
- Minimizes the need of calling water tankers in case of water shortage
- Simple to maintain and can be installed at any rooftop

Steps to apply for property tax rebate:
- An application for inspection of RWH system installed should be handed over to the Building Permission Department
- After the inspection by a chief engineer, Building Permission Department, a Non objective certificate will be handed over
- Submit an application to the Property Tax Department along with the NOC certificate to claim your rebate

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