In a first, BMC seizes 2 helicopters for property tax dues

Agencies. Updated: 2/26/2020 12:26:00 PM National

Mumbai, Feb 26: In an unprecedented move, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has seized two helicopters of MESCO Airline for non-payment of Property Tax (PT) dues of over Rs 16 million for the current year (2019-2020).

A team of civic officials swooped at the Juhu Airport and sealed the two helicopters at the site to prevent the company from moving or flying them. This is the first time when the civic body has taken such an action on a movable asset, said a BMC official.

The action is in tune with the BMC Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi's announcement in the last civic budget on measures to jack up the outstanding PT dues collection by adopting stringent measures.

He had said that the BMC will issue notices, disconnect water supply, attach and auction of commercial and industrial establishments, lands, etc for defaulters on PT and Water Tax.

Pardeshi said that after the BMC attached 1,237 properties of defaulters last year, there was a stupendous 84 per cent rise in the recovery of dues compared to the previous fiscal.

The BMC also disconnected the water supply of a prominent commercial complex, Wadhwa Trade Centre, Kalina for alleged default of Rs 13.30 crore PT since 2013 of which around 15 per cent has been paid.

The Wadhwa Group has challenged the BMC's contention claiming it owed around Rs 6 crore including half which is to be paid by the building society, and said it would clear its share of the dues soon.

Pardeshi had said that compared with the 2019-2020 budget estimates of PT collection of Rs 5016 crore, the BMC had netted a paltry Rs 1,810 crore till January, though the figure has now crossed around Rs 3,000 crore and the civic body races to achieved its target before March 31.

In the next fiscal (2020-2021), the country's biggest and richest civic body hopes to collect a hefty Rs 6,768 crore in PT, besides introducing several novel methods to generate more revenues, including levying fees on garbage-sewerage collection, and a crackdown on all kinds of defaulters.

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