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May, 18th 2015

There seems to be no end to random working of Nagpur Municipal Corporation's (NMC's) property tax department. Even as NMC is unable to provide records of property tax accounts on orders of state information commissioner, it has now emerged that the civic body does not levy a common rate on schools and colleges.

Consumer activist Shankar Gulani has obtained information under Right to Information (RTI) Act that shows that while most schools and colleges are levied tax at residential rates, taxes of a few are being assessed at commercial rates. The schools, which are being charged at commercial rates, are apparently unaware of this discrepancy. They are paying double the tax that they should pay as per law.

Gulani told TOI that as per Municipal Act, schools and colleges, whether aided or non-aided, should be charged property tax at residential rates. "Time and again NMC officials have shown that they do not care about the laws and act as per their whims and fancies," he said.

The information given by Dhantoli zone shows the level of arbitrariness in property tax department. There are 13 educational institutes that are levied property tax.

Bhide Girls High School, Bhide Girls Primary School, Dinanath High School, Bengali Education Society, Sule High School, Mount Carmel Girls School, Oswal Education Society and Pragati High School are charged property tax at residential rates.

On the other hand Matru Sewa Sangh maternity home, South Indian Education Society, Shivaji Science College and New English School are charged at commercial rate.

Gulani had gathered the data zone wise. There is difference in their response. While eight out of 10 zones provided him the required data Dhantoli and Nehru Nagar zones didn't furnish it on the grounds that they were in the nature of questions.

The activist also said that he was not being provided the records of property tax demand notes he had submitted to NMC. "The information commissioner had warned them in the last hearing for repeated failure to provide information," he said.

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