Under pressure from ruling BJP, PCMC administration stays property tax hike

Under pressure from the ruling BJP ahead of the 2022 civic elections, the administration of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has decided not to implement the hike on property tax from April 1.

The decision came after a delegation of the BJP met Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil on Wednesday. The delegation included Mayor Usha Dhore, BJP House leader Namdeo Dhake and standing committee chairman Nitin Landge. “Following the meeting, the muncipal commissioner passed an order putting a stay on implementation of the hike on old properties,” Deputy Municipal Commissioner Smita Zagade told The Indian Express this morning. “The hike in property tax will not be implemented from today,” she added.

Dhore said the BJP delegation tried to impress upon the civic chief the need to postpone the hike in view of the Covid pandemic. “Covid has hit the economy and citizens hard. Many local residents have lost their jobs and some had to take big salary cuts. In view of this, we told the municipal commissioner not to hike property tax,” the mayor said.
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“We also told the administration that in an election year, the hike is not justified,” she said.

Dhake said, “We have been opposing the move…we had rejected the proposal in the standing committee meeting and even the civic general body meeting”, adding that the party had decided to approach the state government to scrap the hike in case the civic administration refused to listen. NCP and Shiv Sena, the opposition parties in PCMC, had also opposed the hike.

The property tax was hiked by Patil’s predecessor Shravan Hardikar over two months ago. The administration had then said the civic general body’s permission for the hike was not needed as it could be done with the special powers vested with the municipal commissioner.

The civic administration had increased property tax on 2.5 lakh old residential properties and over 3 lakh non-residential properties. Zagade said the tax on old properties was hiked as there was a major difference between per square feet rate and subsequent property tax calculated on old and new properties. She said the hike on new properties was nominal.

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