The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has finally extended the 50 per cent rebate in property tax to ex-servicemen residing in the city, albeit a year after the State government issued a gazette notification.
Though the gazette notification was issued on April 24, 2012, granting 50 per cent rebate to ex-servicemen in property tax to be paid to the urban local bodies, the BBMP had not implemented it. Several ex-servicemen, who sought the rebate at the help centres while paying their property tax, were disappointed to be turned away.
According to information available from the Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, as on December 31, 2012, there were 35,549 ex-servicemen, including 7,537 widows, in the city eligible for the 50 per cent rebate. With the notification not being implemented, none of them were able to avail the rebate on property tax.
Air Marshal (retd.) B.U. Chengappa, who is the president of the Airforce Association, Karnataka branch, told The Hindu that the staff at the various help centres seemed unaware of the gazette notification. “The association received complaints. When we contacted the staff members, they claimed that they had not received any order from the BBMP directing them to implement the gazette notification and offer 50 per cent rebate. Left with no option, most ex-servicemen paid the full property tax,” he said.
Major General (retd.) H.C. Nanjappa said that the ex-servicemen were turned away by the BBMP staff at the tax collection centres last year. He said that the gazette notification was implemented in Belgaum, but not in Bangalore. “With the BBMP not issuing executive orders directing the staff to offer the rebate, the ex-servicemen were forced to pay the full property tax,” he said.
When contacted, I. Ramakanth, BBMP’s Deputy Commissioner (Revenue), said that the 50 per cent rebate was being offered this fiscal (2013-14).
He said that though the gazette notification was issued in April 2012, the notice reached the BBMP only in July/August. “By then, a number of ex-servicemen had paid their taxes. That apart, we cannot introduce something in the middle of the financial year,” he said.
He said that the ex-servicemen could avail the rebate for one residential property by filling out the prescribed form and submitting the requisite documents at the BBMP’s help centres. “They can avail 50 per cent rebate for the tax paid last year. The excess amount will be adjusted with the tax due this fiscal,” he added.