Pune: Following thousands of complaints after its decision to hike property taxes five times, the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) has softened its stand and sent revised notices to owner of about 15,000 properties.
However, residents are still complaining as the reduction amounts to only about 40 per cent. They have also decided not to pay the tax until their demands for rate revision are met. So far only around 500 have paid tax. On March 11, dna had reported about notices on revised annual rateable value (that is, the annual rent that a building is likely to fetch if rented out) being sent to residents in the PCB area. In some areas, rates have been increased by up to five times, which ultimately get reflected in the area’s property tax.
As many as 4,000 citizens and housing societies under the PCB had approached the board taking umbrage at the rate hike.
K Venkat Nagireddy, chief executive officer, Pune Cantonment Board, said: “While studying the property tax issue in PCB area, we realised it had been done in percentage form, and it hadn’t been properly calculated. We then studied the property tax assessment conducted by Pune Municipal Corporation. We were calculating it on percentage-wise hike; now we are taking into consideration the locality, size of the house, usage, and occupancy of the place. We divided the rates based on zones.” He added: “Even the proposed property tax amount is cheaper compared to the rates in the PMC areas.
Some citizens objected to this and we revised the rates again. People living in bungalows will have to pay an additional 4 per cent of water tax.”CEO Nagireddy has revised the structure of property tax not only for citizens who had objected to the rate, but also for others to maintain uniformity. As per the initial proposed property tax, the total square feet area was calculated at Rs 2.23 paisa, and again multiplied by 12% (annual amount) to get the ARV. (Eg: if one person has property of 280 square feet, multiply it by Rs 2.23, and multiply by 12% to get the ARV). The amount was revised as per area and structure of the building (less Rs 1.02 and multiply by Rs 1.1). So it has come down by 40%.
Bhikubhai Patil, a resident of Pancharatna Co-operative Housing Society in Fatima Nagar, whose flat admeasures 280 sq ft, paid Rs 303 as annual property tax in 2013. According to the initial proposal, he was liable to pay Rs 1,499, but after the revision, he has to pay only Rs 772. Patil said: “We are glad our grievances have been addressed. It will help us save more than 50% of the amount. However, I am still unsure how the calculation of the property tax was carried out.” Similarly, Susanta Das, a shopkeeper paid Rs 1,162 for a 152 sq feet property last year. When the tax was hiked, he was asked to pay Rs 4,213, and on revision the amount came down to Rs 1,162. Lawyer Prashant Yadav, said: “Such revision done in property tax is illegal as per the norms laid under The Cantonment Act. We still insist the CEO lessen the amount as we don’t get facilities like that of the PMC residents.”