Has property tax collection been stopped at Ambattur in Chennai?

Corporation office at Ambattur

Chennai: Ever since the Greater Chennai Corporation revised the property tax, residents have been a confused and enraged lot. However, for those living in Ambattur at least, the issue seems to have hit a purple patch.

According to sources, State Minister for Municipal Administration, S P Velumani, has ordered for the stoppage of property tax collection in the industrial-residential neighbourhood of the city.

In effect from September last year, the revised tax rates saw a hike of up to 50 per cent for residential properties and 100 per cent for commercial properties.

Ambattur residents have been up in arms against the issue and the United Welfare Association – Ambattur (UWAA), a federation of all residents welfare associations in the locality, took their grievances to Velumani earlier this week.

The reason, according to the general secretary of UWAA, Suresh, is that the newly rates were substantially higher than the previous year’s tax, in some cases, by more than seven times.

“We met the Minister at his Greenways Road residence and presented the facts as to how the increased rates affect us. We told him that the rates were already high and the high base was not considered by the Corporation when it effected the tax hike,” Suresh told News Today.

“He took the plea from us and immediately directed for stoppage of tax collection in the Ambattur locality. He assured to set right the anomaly,” said Suresh.

His comments were validated by P Solai, president of UWAA, who said, “The Minister promised us that he will stop tax collection in our area. We were pleased upon hearing this. We wish to see official action take place on the matter, soon.”

Property tax had not been increased in Chennai since 1998, but the State government increased it in erstwhile municipalities such as Alandur, Ambattur and seven other localities including Kattivakkam, Madhavaram, Maduravoyal, Manali, Tiruvottiyur, Ullagaram-Puzhuthivakkam and Valasaravakkam, by 25 per cent in 2008. These municipal bodies were added to Chennai Corporation in 2011.

The recent increase of property tax across all areas of Chennai means those in the extended areas ended up paying more than the others because of the already hiked amount.

When asked if they had received any orders on the issue, assistant revenue officer for Ambattur, Titus, said no such instructions had been received as yet.

The officer said for areas that had proper establishments with proper assessment, the hike was done on a par with other localities. “But for unassessed plots and commercial establishments, the difference may seem a lot when compared to the new rates,” he said.

Asked if residents are not complying with the changes, Titus said many are paying taxes. “Of course, there will be opposition,” he added.

Praveen Kumar S