Chennai residents seek revision in the unreasonable property tax hike

Nearly 700 house owners in Mugappair have decided to not pay the property tax this time as they say that authorities have not paid heed to their petitions seeking revision of the ‘unreasonable’ hike last year.

The most affected by the hike are the EWS (Economically Weaker Section), LIG (Lower Income Group) and MIG (Middle Income Group) plot owners of wards 92 and 93 in JJ Nagar. The plots and houses were jointly developed by the CMDA with funds from World Bank.

A meeting was held last month in Veeramamunivar Road where more than 200 residents gathered to voice their woes regarding the improper calculation of taxes. Presidents of various resident welfare associations chaired the meeting and took down all their complaints in writing after the meeting. It was submitted to Revenue department officials a few weeks back.

“But, till now there has been zero response,” say almost all the people that News Today spoke to.┬áPresident of Thirukkural People Welfare Association, Deeka, said “At some places the hike has been more than 500 per cent. We collected more than 700 petitions over the course of one month from people in Mugappair and took it to the authorities. But we did not receive any response. Whenever we go, we only hear the authorities say that they will consider. Apart from that, they don’t do anything.”

Deeka also alleges that the authorities have not calculated the tax properly and have just done it in a haphazard manner without any proper guideline. He says that the Property Tax increase in Mugappair is higher than even prime localities such as Anna Nagar and T Nagar. The reason quoted by authorities was the increase in land price in Mugappair, he said.

In response to this, a resident said, “Only the land price has increased, but our income remains the same. Many of us here work in government departments and small private companies. But our salaries have not risen in the same ratio as the property tax, so how can the government expect us to pay such a huge amount?”

“We do not get proper drinking water, there is no proper underground sewage disposal facility in Mugappair, the streets are narrow and the roads have not been laid in five years at many places. It is unfair to raise the property tax when we do not get proper amenities,” he said.

What people want
At present, the people of Mugappair want the government to fix property tax rate at Rs 0.65 per square feet for residential areas and Rs 4 for commercial areas. They have also demanded a discount of 50 per cent in property tax for buildings older than 20 years.

But according to the new property tax rates, Mugappair residents are forced to pay Rs 3.97 for residential property and Rs 15.11 for the commercial property per square feet.

For a comparative analysis, residents of Anna Nagar pay Rs 1.40 to Rs 1.75 per square feet for residential property and Rs 8.64 per square feet for commercial property. But, Anna Nagar has facilities like 24-hour availability of groundwater, wide roads, and proper underground sewerage facilities.

A Harsha Vardhan