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Margao’s Door-to-Door House Tax Collection Rakes in Moolah

The team, comprising 12 municipal workers, is tasked with visiting the defaulters and serving them demand notices

Renewed attempts by the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) at revenue recovery seem to be yielding positive results. The coffers of the municipality have begun filling up since the council constituted a team to recover house tax from wards 1 to 6 on December 4. In a span of just 10 working days, the MMC has netted nearly Rs 40 lakh, official sources told TOI.

The team, comprising 12 municipal workers, is tasked with visiting the defaulters and serving them demand notices. The defaulters are required to pay up their dues within 15 days of receiving the notice, failing which the municipality then issues them a ‘warrant of distress’ and grants them another 15 days to pay up. If they still fail to comply, the MMC will be then be free to attach the property of the defaulters to recover the outstanding amount, sources explained.

Upon receipt of the demand notices, defaulters have been queuing up at the MMC’s payment counters, setting its registers ringing. That MMC chief officer Johnson Fernandes wrote to the electricity department seeking disconnection of power supply to some of the “big” defaulters, also prompted many to rush to the council to pay up their dues, sources said.

The MMC faces a daunting task of recovering revenue amounting to almost Rs 15 crore from house tax, trade tax, sanitation fees, etc.

With the exercise showing initial signs of success, official sources said a second team comprising 18 municipal workers will soon be constituted to target wards 7 to 15. There are altogether 25 wards under the jurisdiction of the MMC.

However, what has compounded the problem for the council is the large number of illegal houses under its jurisdiction that have managed to stay outside the ambit of house tax assessment. Repeated attempts by the MMC to bring all such “illegal” houses for assessment of house tax have come to a nought.

Ardee Residents Decry Poor Upkeep, Step up Civic Transfer Heat on Gurugram Civic Body

The corporation, residents alleged, too wasn’t interested in expediting handover either, leading to issues such as poor maintenance

Residents of Ardee City are unhappy with the builder for lack of maintenance in the 250-acre township in Sector 51 and its reluctance in handing over the part completion certificate (PCC) to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) that could have paved the way for the colony’s takeover by the civic body.

The corporation, residents alleged, too wasn’t interested in expediting handover either, leading to issues such as poor maintenance.

“There is a sprawling ground just in front of our house,” said Renu Juyal, a resident. “It has become a dumping yard. We are really distressed by all this. It seems there is no one to take care of all this. I don’t know what handing over to MCG will do but if that will fix all the problems, we are ready for it,” she said.

Kuldeep Singh Bohra, the councillor of ward 31 under which Ardee City falls, said he was also anguished with the builder as well as the MCG. “The maintenance of this area is in tatters. Look here,” he said, pointing towards a heap of waste over which piglets are gorging.

“Can you believe we are living in one of the affluent areas of Gurgaon? It is the same situation all over. Garbage collection doesn’t happen. Roads are worn out. This area is neither under Huda nor the MCG. The builder was supposed to hand it over to the MCG soon after completing construction, but more than 15 years have gone by since this township was built,” he added.

Bohra said Adree Infrastructure had not even handed over the part completion certificate to MCG that would have been a stepping stone towards the takeover. “Residents are also calling me up, demanding construction of a religious place, but the builder has no land to allocate for it despite acres still being vacant,” the councillor said.

TOI also visited the office of Ardee Infrastructure in the township. “There is no one who can speak on this matter as of now. They are all off for Christmas holidays till December 31,” an employee said.

Ardee city has around 10,000 inhabitants.

Karnataka RERA, GST Likely to make Co-Operative Society Sites Costlier

Though the societies had approached Karnataka and Bombay high courts (which deals with RERA) seeking relief from RERA, they have failed to get a breather.

Buying a site in a co-operative housing society may soon become more transparent and more expensive. This is because housing societies now need to register under the Karnataka Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“The dream run of cooperative housing societies, which made hay during the property boom in Bengaluru and other major cities of Karnataka, has come to an end. The introductions of RERA and GST has proved to be a double whammy for the developers and a blessing in disguise for homebuyers,” said K Chandrakanth, a member of the Karnataka Homebuyers’ Association.

10,000 co-operative societies have to be registered

Though the societies had approached Karnataka and Bombay high courts (which deals with RERA) seeking relief from RERA, they have failed to get a breather. The court dismissed a batch of petitions which claimed that RERA had encroached upon the rights of CHSs under the Karnataka Cooperative Societies Act 1959. “All cooperative housing societies have to mandatorily register under RERA if the development worksisincomplete. They can register now with penalty in case of default of any provision of the rules,” said Kapil Mohan, principal secretary in the housing department.

As of now, only one society had been registered under RERA. A senior official of the housing department said there are roughly 50,000 cooperative housing societies in Karnataka and a majority of these are in Bengaluru (urban and rural) and Mysuru. Of these, at least 10,000 cooperative societies, which are in the process of developing layouts, have tobe registeredunder RERA.

Also, all CHSs have been brought under GST and they need to register under the newtaxation regime as their turnover collections are likely to exceed the limit of Rs 20 lakh. A senior cooperative official said any transfer fee paid to the society by the new owner on exchange of ownership of flat will be taxable under GST at 18%,” the official added.

Once a society is registered under GST, it has to meet various filing obligations. It also has to comply with the provisions of the reverse charge mechanism, under which if it makes payments to unregistered service providers such as cleaners, electricians and plumbers, it will have to bear the GST of 18% on such payments. It will also have to file relevant forms on the GSTN portal.

However, there will be no imposition of GST on maintenance charges collectedfrom flat owners (members of the CHS) unless the annual collection of the society is Rs 20 lakh or more or the monthly maintenance charge is more than Rs 5,000 per member.

JNPT to be planning authority for SEZ in Uran: Maharashtra govt

As per a proposal by JNPT (via a notification dated August 11, 2014), the Union ministry of commerce and industry has declared an area measuring approximately 277.387 hectares

The state government’s urban development ministry has allowed Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to be the planning authority in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) area in their premises.

As per a proposal by JNPT (via a notification dated August 11, 2014), the Union ministry of commerce and industry has declared an area measuring approximately 277.387 hectares in villages Sawarkhar, Karal, Sonari and Jaskhar in the Uran Taluka as an SEZ.

The notification issued by the state government on December 20, during the Winter Session in Nagpur, said the chairman of JNPT had requested the government on March 1, 2017, to appoint JNPT as the Special Planning Authority as per the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (MRTP).

JNPT Deputy Chairperson Neeraj Bansal said, “We have received the notification. It will help us setting up a single-window clearance system for projects that come in the SEZ.”

The urban development ministry has also declared that any other planning authority or special planning authority functioning in that particular notified area prior to this MRTP notification shall cease to function from the date of publication of the notification in the official gazette.

It has also asked JNPT to prepare and publish the development proposals and development control regulations for the notified area, and to submit the same to the government for sanction after following due procedure as prescribed in the Act.

Malaysian sand to meet demand in Karnataka

The river sand from Malaysia has arrived at Krishnapattanam port in Andhra Pradesh, and is awaiting government clearance

The state government will sell imported packaged sand from Malaysia in 50kg sacks from January 2018 to reduce the demand-supply gap, protect riverbeds and curb illegal mining.

The river sand from Malaysia has arrived at Krishnapattanam port in Andhra Pradesh, and is awaiting government clearance. As imported sand could not be sold, the state government has amended the Karnataka Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1994, to allow dealers to import and sell sand. The amendment is yet to be notified, but this is expected to happen on Tuesday.

The sand will be sold through Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL), which has purchased 54,000 metric tonnes from Malaysia. “The sand is expected to be in the market by the first week of January and we’ve priced one 50kg sack at Rs 195, inclusive of 5% GST and government royalty of Rs 60 per tonne,” said MSIL managing director GC Prakash. At Rs 3,900 per tonne, the price of imported sand is less than sand extracted in Karnataka (Rs 6,700 per tonne).

“The amendment was made last Friday and will be notified on Tuesday. The guidelines will be issued along with the new rules. To start with MSIL will sell the packaged sand at its outlets but soon the government will give licences to individual dealers,” said Rajendra Kumar Kataria, secretary, department of commerce and industries (mines and micro, small and medium enterprises).

Presently, the annual demand for sand in the state is estimated at 50 million tonnes. Only six million tonnes is legally mined, while M-sand (manufactured sand, a by-product of stone quarrying) covers 20 million tonnes of the demand. The rest of the unmet demand is exploited by the sand mafia.

The move to allow imported sand comes after various stakeholders raised concerns about riverbeds being illegally exploited for construction and the sand mafia causing irreversible damage to ecology. The state cabinet approved the proposal in August.

“The situation is alarming. We are left with only 26 million tonnes of river sand and we cannot exploit it anymore. While we are exploring other options to meet the sand demand from the construction industry, the first option is to import river sand,” Kataria said.

MSIL will start selling the imported packaged sand in ten ‘dry districts’, including Bengaluru rural and urban, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagar, Tumkur, Mandya, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar, where river sand quarrying is banned. In other districts, including the coastal belt, limited sand mining is allowed. MSIL has plans to sell 36 lakh tonnes a year, and has entered into a five-year contract with a consortium of Malaysian firms.

The real estate sector currently uses M-sand. “M-sand suits our needs. Imported sand has just started coming in and we are yet to see how it will suit us,” said Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Bengaluru) secretary Adarsh Narahari.

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