Twin rules to recover tax dues

The empowered standing committee of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Wednesday approved rules for the recovery of municipal taxes framed under Bihar Municipality Act, 2007.

The panel's decision would authorise the civic body to take punitive action against the municipal tax defaulters.

"The new rules empower the civic body to stop providing municipal services, issue attachment of property and realise tax dues by selling the immovable assets of the municipal tax defaulters. The rules would now be tabled at the next meeting of the PMC board for final approval," said Sheshank Shekhar Sinha, additional municipal commissioner (in-charge), PMC.

Earlier, the rules were approved by the state cabinet in its meeting on January 7. "Once the new rules come into force, the civic body can issue demand letters to the defaulters for payment of such dues. If they don't clear the dues, we can initiate punitive actions against them," said Sinha.

Records with the PMC reveal that 1,96,953 holdings in the city are registered with it. However, according to recent estimates of the civic body, there are around 2.5 lakh holdings, which are untapped from the tax ambit.

The standing committee also gave its nod for Patna Municipal Corporation-Grant of Permission for Display of Advertisement and Similar Devices Rules, 2012, which was approved by the urban development and housing department on August 13, 2012.

"These regulations prescribe norms regarding permission for advertisement, zoning of different areas for advertisement purposes, rates for advertisement space among other aspects. With respect to restrictions on hoardings, the guidelines state that the hoardings should not be allowed around traffic island and signal junctions within 25m from the road line, among other restrictions. This rule would also be tabled in the next meeting of the PMC board seeking a final approval," added Sinha.

As things stand now, most of the 1,000 hoardings in the municipal area are illegal and the corresponding monthly revenue generation after implementation of new regulations would be around Rs 2.5 crore.

PMC sources said the new rules would provide the much-needed teeth to the civic body for generating maximum revenue. The empowered panel also approved the formation of committees in every ward having population of 1.5 lakh and above.

"The ward committees would have representatives of all stakeholder groups, including members of the civic society and it would primarily look after local area development works," said a senior PMC officer.

The committee also approved transfer of its land, measuring 1.47 acres at Moja Rampur vicinity in Patna City Circle, for development of an old age home.

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