wners of properties in prime areas of Chennai city are more equal than their counterparts in the outlying areas not merely in basic amenities, they are a favoured lot even in property tax fixation.
It might look strange, but people in the core city pay less property tax than those in the peripheral areas of Greater Chennai Corporation, thanks to the civic agency's reluctance to increase property tax since 1998.
Most outlying areas had hiked property tax in 2008, when they were parts of various municipalities before their merger with Chennai Corporation in 2011. For instance, a house in the posh Boat Club pays only `4 per sq ft per annum, whereas an apartment in Thiruvottiyur, considered a backwater region of the city , pays `8.28 per sq ft. In Anna Nagar East, the tax is `2.5 per sq ft per annum and in Sholinganallur it is 80 paisa per sq ft. As regards commercial buildings, while a building in Manali pays `4 per sq ft per annum, it is much higher at `22.5 per sq ft in Madhavaram.
R Jayaraman, former chairman of the erstwhile Thiruvottiyur municipality said most people in the region were daily wage earners.
"It's unfair to collect more tax from us than what people pay in posh areas," he said. He said work on drinking water and sewerage pro jects were incomplete in the region, which caused hard ship to residents. "Several interior roads are not re-la id even four years after the expansion of the corpora tion," he said.
Corporation officials sa id they were unlikely to ra tionalise and revise proper ty tax rates, which were fix ed based on the annual ren tal values of properties as the elections were round the corner. "We have spent a lot on improvement of infrastructure in the expanded areas," claimed a corporation official. Meanwhile, many newly added areas of the city continue to be in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. This poses hassle to residents and officials. Residents in these outlying areas say the government should bring these zones under Chennai dis trict. At present, people in areas like Alandur and Nanganallur have to go to Kanche epuram to get government services like marriage assi stance and widow pension.
Civic activist and Nanga nallur resident V Rama Rao said, "Considering Delhi corporation has 1,454sqkm Bangaluru 712 sq km and Hy derabad 650 sq km, the earlier proposal to create a mega Chennai with 800 sq km by in tegrating Avadi and Tamba ram should be revived".
Corporation officials too complain that they are unab le to take over administra tion of schools and hospitals in the outlying areas as they come under other districts "We find it difficult to upgrade the facilities of schools and hospitals in the expanded areas. Lack of coordination among various agencies got exposed in the recent floods also,"the official said.