For S J Advani, a 50-year-old businessman from Guzdar Bandh in Santa Cruz, paying property tax till last year meant waiting in long
queues at the BMCs Bandra ward office. Often, Advani did not make it on time to clear the dues as the Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) would shut early.
But all that changed from the first day of the new year on Thursday. By sending an SMS to 57575, Advani became the first Mumbaikar to use the BMCs new mobile-based payment scheme. He paid part of his property tax while travelling on a local train. It is just like recharging your pre-paid card, Advani said.
The new service, activated from January 1, promises to reach up to 14 lakh citizens. Now, they can buy an ITZ cardwhich acts like a pre-paid mobile card and has a fixed balanceto pay their dues.
The next step is to send an SMS to 57575 with ones details, including name and address. This message reaches the BMCs IT control room, following which the user gets a reply, mentioning the pending amount. The user can then make the payment by typing in the transaction number of the ITZ card and the amount. He gets a confirmation message immediately and the receipt for the transaction is couriered to him the same day. We charge only a nominal amount of Rs 20 for the service, joint municipal commissioner V Radha said.
A pilot project to test the system was undertaken last year. Users can also lodge a complaint by calling 1916 in case the transaction is not complete.
From this year, citizens can also log on to a portal, assess their property tax and obtain birth and death certificates.