Municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan B has directed NMC property tax department to expedite process of auctioning open plots and structures for recovery of arrears.
NMC deputy commissioner Milind Meshram told TOI, “This duplex happens to be the first structure to be auctioned for recovery of property tax arrears, where possession was taken by successful bidder, in 70 years of NMC history.”
The annual tax of the duplex at HB Estate in Sonegaon was Rs4,445 and tax had been pending since 2000. NMC gave many notices but none responded, as no one was residing in the duplex. Even the housing society had no idea about the whereabouts of the owner.
“We completed due process and auctioned it. A resident of the same area participated and emerged as successful bidder in the auction. We handed over sale certificate and related documents to him some days ago,” the NMC chief said.
The civic body had kept the house’s as offset value at Rs38.35 lakh for constructed area 52.74 sq m, on 122.12 sq m plot.
Meshram added, “There is a provision in the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations (MMC) Act that the owner can claim excess amount of the auction within six months. In this case, owner did not claim within stipulated time period. Now, NMC cannot give excess amount to the owner. After paying tax arrears, remaining Rs54.43 lakh became NMC’s money.”
Before this case, a couple of structures had been auctioned but possession was not given to successful bidders as the owner turned up and paid the arrears. The owners can claim the property within 20 days of auction by paying entire arrears to NMC, and 5% of auctioned value to successful bidder.
Meshram also said a proposal will be tabled before the general body to release excess amount recovered to owner even after six months. “An open plot at Manewada was auctioned for recovery of arrears of Rs1.72 lakh. NMC got Rs28.5 lakh in auction. Owner requested excess amount after six months. Since NMC has got its arrears, on humanitarian grounds, the owner should get the remaining amount. Therefore, we are proposing a policy decision,” he said.
Meshram said many open plots and structures were shortlisted for auction. “Any property with arrears of over Rs50,000 will be auctioned,” he said.
Total arrears of property tax stand at around Rs680 crore. NMC had initiated auction of 9,745 properties for recovery of arrears. Of these, 2,595 properties have been seized till date. Auction process of 495 properties has been completed. Sale certificate followed by handing over possession of properties to successful bidder has been done in 13 cases, of which 12 were open plots and one duplex at Sonegaon.
The civic body could not get bidders in the auction of 138 properties, so they were registered in NMC’s name.