Figures provided by the “cash-strapped” Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveal that 112 city residents, besides some government departments, owe Rs 22.65 crore as house tax to the MC.
Some of the defaulters include the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) which owes Rs 8.5 lakh, a telephone exchange in zone B which owes Rs 23.92 lakh and a hotel which owes around Rs 1 crore.
“The MC is not collecting pending house tax, the amount of which runs into crores of rupees. This is a huge amount. If it is collected by the civic body, several development projects can be carried out in the city,” said Rohit Sabharwal, president of the Council of RTI Activists.
MC Joint Commissioner BK Gupta said the defaulters had been served with notices under Sections 137 and 138 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.
“If they fail to deposit the dues, we will attach their properties and sell them to recover the money. It is better if they do it on their own else we will be forced to take strict action against them,” he warned.
The arrears that the LIT owes the MC is on a property that it owned near Lakkar Bridge, which it later sold off. “It will be recovered,” he said.“Some departments of the state government have been exempted from paying house tax. If the list contains names of such departments, we will look into the matter. Besides, some cases are in the court and so, we cannot recover the outstanding amount till the matter is decided,” Gupta said.