CM, Minister take measures to revise property taxes in city

Chennai: The burning property tax issue in Ambattur was put to rest three months ago when Minister for Municipal Administration, SP Velumani ordered stoppage of collections in the bustling locality, which was brought under Corporation limits in 2011.

However, much to the dismay of residents, civic officials resumed tax collections in the neighbourhood, following which members of United Welfare Association–Ambattur (UWAA) met the Minister Tuesday and urged him to look into the matter.

‘We requested the Minister to reduce property tax in Ambattur. We explained to him how the rates have been fixed high and he assured us that the tax will be reduced to a reasonable level,’ said UWAA general secretary S Suresh.
The association members had already met the Minister earlier in March and urged him to look into the matter post which Velumani had ordered stoppage of tax collection to keep matters in check. ‘The Minister told us that he will look into the issue and assured us that the taxes will be revised in Ambattur,’ added Suresh.

When News Today contacted Alexander, the MLA of Ambattur regarding the issue, he said he had taken it up during the Assembly session yesterday.  ‘The problem is that property taxes were hiked when Ambattur was a Municipality and once again after it came under the Corporation. I spoke about addressing the disparity on the matter in the Assembly and I have been assured that it will be looked at,’ he said.

A committee is set to be formed to revise tax at places where it is high and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had informed the same last week. Alexander said, ‘The CM has spoken about this and after the committee is formed, they will look at revising the taxes. But the issue will be in getting people to pay the taxes, which are higher, he said. ‘Once they pay the required amount, the rates will be revised and the excess money will subsequently be adjusted for the next term payments,’ said the MLA.

UWAA members said they are expecting a favourable response from the committee after it completes its assessment.
By March, of the 1.10 lakh assessments, only 35 per cent collection was done. Officials received Rs 850 crore in property taxes and had aimed to cross Rs 1,000 crore. It must be noted that more than 2,000 appeals from Ambattur regarding the issue are pending with the civic body.

In other development, according to sources, Velumani will be inspecting Siva Vishnu pond, Pattaravakkam Periya kulam and Gangai Amman Temple pond present in and around Ambattur today. It is expected that he will initiate restoration works of the waterbodies, upon assessing them.

Praveen Kumar S