PMC Losing Rs 150 Cr Property Tax Annually For Lack Of Draftsmen To Measure Building Plans

(Pune Mirror, October 20, 2010)
Can the property tax collection of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) get a boost just by inducting some draftsmen on staff? Yes, if one goes by the proposal by some corporators. A proposal before the standing committee of PMC states the civic body needs more draftsmen to increase the revenue.
Corporators Sanjay Nande and Shrikant Pujari have put forth this proposal. According to them, “The city is witnessing an explosion in constructions. The tax department is responsible for taxing them, so collection will see a boom.”
Property tax is levied in accordance with the area of the building. Since draftsperson can measure the area correctly, they are needed in the tax department. However, most of the draftsmen are currently in the building department, they said. Hence, they have recommended some draftsmen be hired.
The PMC has various pending tax complaints. The civic body has to recover Rs 51 crores from 210 cases of property tax. The standing committee has also approved a committee headed by retired High Court judge R M Bapat for this purpose.
Speaking to Mirror, Nande said, “The tax department has already asked for two draftsmen to be recruited for the assessment. There are not enough technically sound persons in the department.
Builders usually show the partially completed buildings which are never assessed again. They escape the tax net easily. Hence, if a draftsman is in the department, he can calculate how much tax the PMC can collect simply by studying the plan.”
The PMC had collected property tax of Rs 274.44 crore against the estimated amount of Rs 482.82 crore in 2009-2010. During the preparation of the budget this year, the standing committee had claimed that 45,000 properties do not fell in the tax net, eroding revenue by Rs 150 crore.
Vilas Kanade said, “I know about such a proposal but do not know the exact details of it. We have started charging tax on one lakh properties, which is the highest number of properties in the history of the PMC. However, some properties escape because of lack of manpower.”
The Current System
The PMC levies property tax on buildings in three ways. First, the building department sends occupation certificate to the tax department, depending on which tax is levied. Some residents approach the PMC and declare their properties voluntarily. The third way is the manual scrutiny of the building in PMC limits.
Explaining the reasons of less taxing, Kanade said, “Sometimes, the building is ready but only two or three families are moved in. The properties can’t be taxed until they are occupied totally. Sometimes, the buildings are used rarely and other times the completion certificate does not come in time.”
However, lack of manpower does not allow the department to scrutinise all properties. According to Kanade, there are no special teams to scrutinise such properties and has to be carried out by the employees, who are not experts.

French Firm To Assist PCMC In Reviving Its 24X7 Water Plan

(Indian Express, Oct 19, 2010)
A French firm has come forward to assist the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) in revising its botched 24X7 drinking water plan. If officials are to be believed, the PCMC is in the process of appointing Suez Environment Ltd of France to conduct water audit, water reform and also help the civic body in implementing its round the clock water plan.
Additional city engineer (water supply) Pravin Tupe last week told this paper that Suez company on its own had few days back approached the PCMC to conduct water audit.
“After going through the successful implementation of its projects relating to water distribution, we have decided to appoint it,” he said. The company, he said, would conduct the water audit free of cost as it gets funds from the French government. The proposal for appointing the firm would be placed before the standing committee meeting on Tuesday.
Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma, who has already given his approval, said the PCMC did not have to pay anything for the audit. “It will be the first serious audit of its kind ever conducted in Pimpri-Chinchwad aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of water,” he said. Significantly, the civic chief said, the French company is helping the civic body in bring in reforms in the water system. “As part of the reforms, water districts will be created to plug water loss. For each water district, one junior engineer will be appointed. There will be a water reform unit as well,” he said. Sharma said once the reforms completed, the French company has promised to help the civic body in starting a pilot 24X7 water plan.
About six years ago, Sharma’s predecessor Dilip Band had promised round the clock water to the entire town, but his plan remained a non-starter due to various reasons like non-completion of water projects on time.
Executive engineer Pravin Ladkat said the French company has successfully implemented 24X7 water plan in 18 countries.
“The company is being appointed for 12 months to provide us expert guidance, technical support, conduct water audit, train engineer, set up hydraulic model, create elevated service zones and do hydraulic analysis,” he said.

PCMC To Levy Penalty On Property Tax Defaulters

(TNN, Oct 18, 2010)
PUNE: Propoerty tax defaulters in the Pimpri-Chinchwad township will have to pay a penalty of two per cent of the tax amount per month from this year, said Shahaji Pawar, assistant commissioner, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Pawar added that municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma had approved the proposal based on the new government resolution (GR) permitting civic bodies to levy penalty on defaulters.
There are 2.71 lakh properties in the municipal limits. The PCMC property tax department had, for the first time in the 26 years of its existence, crossed the Rs 100 crore collection mark in 2009-10 with the collection of Rs 106 crore. The department auctions properties of defaulters if they fail to clear their outstanding dues. The department had initiated auction against 315 properties and mopped up Rs 2.87 crore from these defaulters in 2009-10.
Pawar said, “Property tax payers have to pay the tax for the first six months of the financial year till September 30 every year. If they fail to pay the tax in this period, they will have to pay a penalty of two per cent of the tax amount from October 1 onwards. The tax for the second half of the financial year has to be paid by December 31, failing which taxpayers will have to pay the penalty from January 1 onwards.”
He said that for 2010-11, people should pay the tax for the first six months by October-end to avoid payment of penalty.
The state government had issued a GR on June 5, 2010, empowering municipal corporations to charge two per cent penalty per month for delay in payment of tax. The Pune Municipal Corporation decided to implement the GR a month ago.
The property tax department starts sending property tax bills for the first six months of the financial year from June, giving three months time to pay the tax. The bills for the second half are sent from October onwards.

Pimpri-Chinchwad To Get Central Fire Station

The industrial town of Pimpri-Chinchwad will finally get a well-equipped central fire station. It will be spread over 5 acre in Pimpri-Chinchwad-Bhosari industrial area where fire incidents are common throughout the year.
Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma said the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has sanctioned the land. “Within next few days, we hope to get the approval from the MIDC for setting up the central fire station,” he said. The civic chief said the existing fire sub-station at Sant Tukaram Nagar was too small and did not meet the requirement of a growing town like Pimpri-Chinchwad. “The central fire station will be well-equipped with latest fire tenders and rescue and recovery vans. A separate budgetory provision has already been made for such a central fire station,” he said.
The central fire station will come up close to poligrass stadium and Rose Garden in Nehrunagar.

Rs 18-Lakh Dues In 15 Days From Pune Property Tax Defaulters

(Indian Express, Oct 17 2010)
Copy-of-tax
Over the past fortnight, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has collected Rs 18 lakh property tax dues, including the penalty, from nearly 16,000 defaulters. The civic administration decided to impose a fine of 2 per cent on people who have property tax dues in their names.
Based on the directions issued by the state under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act of 1949, the move came into effect from October 1. Owners of 2.5 lakh properties, out of 6.8 lakh assessed, have to pay the 2 per cent penalty. The civic body is looking at collecting approximately Rs 2 crore exclusively through the penalty this year.
“We started imposing the penalty on property tax from October 1. We found that out of 6.8 lakh assessed properties, there are about 2.5 lakh owners, who are yet to pay their property tax dues. While some of them had not paid tax in the first semester, some others had not paid the tax over the past couple of years,” said Vilas Kanade, chief of the property tax department.
He said though the people were complaining about the penalty, they have no option but to pay up. “Till Friday, about 16,000 property owners paid their dues worth Rs 18 lakh, inclusive of the penalty. This move is likely to provide an additional revenue of Rs 2 crore this year,” said Kanade. The property tax bills are distributed to property owners within the city limits twice a year, with a six-month division. For 2010-11, property tax had to be paid before September 30. The second installment has to be paid by December 31, 2010.
While the property tax collection in 2009-10 was Rs 370 crore, this year the initial six months have given the civic body Rs 320 crore of property tax. This year, the tax collection department has set a target of Rs 500 crore, the official said.

Maharashtra State clears 2.5 FSI Bonanza, Sets Stage For Affordable Housing

(TNN, Oct 15, 2010)
Nearly 1.5 lakh new low-cost houses will be built in Maharashtra with the state government finally clearing a floor space index (FSI) of 2.5 to any land owner who offers his property for affordable housing.
Of the total FSI available, .75 FSI will be used to set up houses for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and another .75 FSI will be used to house people from lower and middle income groups. The remaining FSI of 1 will be for the owner/developer to exploit and make profits.
“The houses for EWS will be allotted by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), while the LIG and MIG houses will be sold by the builders. Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Ulhasnagar and Cidco areas have been excluded from this scheme, but this is aimed to create a huge housing stock in other satellite townships and also smaller municipalities,” said an urban development department official.
“In most satellite towns of Mumbai, the FSI is 1. Even in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur, which are developing rapidly, the FSI is not 2.5. “Under the scheme, we will generate enough houses for LIG and MIG too, which are in huge demand,” said the official.
The government will now wait and check the response of the builders. Housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu said, “In Mumbai, the FSI has been increased, but no one has been paying attention to the infrastructure. In case, the government is increasing FSI for other places, it should ensure that infrastructure keeps up with construction boom. Also if the schemes are implemented by unscrupulous developers, then people in economically weaker sections, lower and middle income groups may not get houses at all. Instead, flats will be amalgamated and sold to the rich as is happening in Mumbai.”
Sunil Mantri, president of MCHI, “It is a very positive step by the government. This is going to help in creation of stock of affordable housing. This decision is very important because Mhada has almost exhausted its land stock and they have a social commitment to create large number of affordable housing. I feel many developers will come forward under this scheme for development under the public private partnership model.”
Meanwhile, the government has made it mandatory to have 25% flats for EWS and LIG in all layouts. “This was one of the conditions when the state sought aid under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Thriving Real Estate in Pune

(StockMarketsReview.com, October 13, 2010)
Pune is a well established premier IT centre in the country that houses units of various leading IT and ITes companies. Once known as pensioner’s paradise, Pune property market is witnessing mushrooming of various luxurious and affordable housing spaces equipped with modern amenities. It has apparently metamorphosed into a bustling mini metro over the years and ranks among the most preferred property investment destinations today.
The entire realty sector in Pune is flourishing with humungous developments in residential, commercial and retail segments. Some of the popular residential localities in the city are Hadapsar, Kalyani Nagar, Kharadi, Viman Nagar, Baner, NIBM, Koregaon Park, Wakad and others. Similarly, commercial property in Pune is most sought after in areas of Baner, Viman Nagar, Aundh, Lonavala, etc. The entry of technology honchos has not only triggered its economy and created employment opportunities galore but also put it forth as a potential real estate destination.
As is the case with other tier-II and III cities, the large scale migration of professionals and students created the housing needs. Already working hard to cater to the commercial demand, developers then began focusing on the inadequate residential property. With the youth settling in, demand for retail realty in Pune also witnessed a considerable upsurge pushing developers to launch retail property projects in the city.
Undoubtedly, builders have been instrumental in taking Pune real estate to a different level. The coming up of high quality developments in terms of modern apartments equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, commercial spaces with excellent infrastructural support and swanky multi storied shopping complexes and multiplexes are all their efforts. Besides the colossal growth within the city, residential property is burgeoning in the peripheral areas of the city as well.
The demand is increasing relentlessly encouraging more and more realty projects to be launched by both national and local property builders. While corporate companies are scouting for commercial properties in Pune, migrant professionals are eyeing accommodation facilities in the city. The supply of real estate constantly falls short even as housing and office spaces multiply speedily within and around the city. With this conspicuous deficit, the property prices are soaring higher year by year.
The emergence of numerous integrated townships and condos among green environs make Pune an ideal place for living. And the considerably high returns on its realty put it across as a rewarding investment destination. The great capital and rental values spells enthusiasm in the property sector with hordes of realty investors thronging the city’s market. With an attractive 30 to 40 percent appreciation in prices, NRIs are also taking interest in investing money here. As a result, the demand for premium housing- deluxe villas and luxury apartments has also gone up by several notches.
This addition to the already fuelling up demand makes Pune one of the most lucrative realty destinations. It is among the most happening cities, located in proximity to the financial capital of the country and that serves as another advantage for Pune realty. The emergence of tier-II and III cities as property hubs is instrumental in heightening the importance of real estate in India.
Pune has not only come across as a cosmopolitan city but also as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It offers a wonderful blend of tradition and modernity symbolizing historical past as well as a software and industrial center of today with global presence. It has been attracting huge foreign investments from NRIs, MNCs and FDIs in its realty sector. Real estate in Pune has been expanding ever since the Government started liberalizing its policies to attract investors. It is expected to flourish furthermore in coming years being a favorable investment destination.
Deepika Bansal writes on behalf of 99acres.com, which is an internet portal dedicated to meet every aspect of the consumers needs in the real estate industry. It is a forum where buyers, sellers and brokers can exchange information, quickly, effectively and inexpensively.

Pune Real Estate On A High Trajectory

(TOI, Oct 13, 2010)
PUNE: Prices of the city’s residential property are witnessing a rise, if market observations of leading realty research firms are an indication. Rentals of commercial space are also witnessing an upward movement, though the market cannot yet be called a heated one, the firms have said.
Rates in different parts of the city have recorded anything between 15 to 25 per cent rise in the past one year or so, rising customer interest being one of the factors, the observers added.
“As far residential properties are concerned, the sector is moving again for the last six months or so. Previously, we had thought the returning demand will fizzle out by April, but that has not been the case. The impression one gets is that Pune’s home buyers are once again convinced of the long-term potential of their investments,” Mohammed Aslam, Pune head for real estate advisory Jones Lang LaSalle India told TOI.
“I won’t say that the market is back with all guns blazing, but matters have improved considerably. Residential sales and retail lease figures for the month of July 2010 look astonishingly different than from this time last year, Aslam of JLL said.
For mid-income homes, the hottest-selling locations are now in western Pune, he observes. Buyers have the widest choice there because of the large number of projects popping up all over Hinjewadi, Wakad, Pimple Nilakh, Pimple Saudagar, Aundh and Balewadi. Secondly, this influx of projects is serving to keep prices affordable. In western Pune, average residential property rates start at around Rs. 3,200 per sq.ft. and hover around Rs 4,000 per sq.ft. The most popular price tags for homes in these areas are between Rs. 30 to 40 lakh.
Manish Aggarwal, executive director, investment services, Cushman & Wakefield India (C&W), said, “With India’s economic environment showing signs of stability and buoyant growth, coupled with improvement in affordability and access to finance, housing demand in the country is expected to witness a revival in the near future.”
According to the C&W report, Pune is expected to witness the highest demand in residential sector after National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai. Pune is estimated to witness a demand of 2,70,000 housing units by 2014, the report says. “The growth in demand for residential units in Pune can be attributed to rapidly growing city population (both migratory & local), coupled with improvement in economic environment with stimulate growth of both IT and manufacturing sectors in this city,” the report adds.
Real estate advisor Ravi Verma, a former official of the National Association of Realtors, said, “The residential market is moving briskly and both high-end and economy segments within the residential sector are doing well. There is however a warning here, that the prices are rising slowly but definitely.”
Offices segment, on the other hand, has yet to pick up speed, as there is a sizeable overhang of stock created or planned prior to the economic slowdown of 2008-09. Verma said the information technology sector which drove most of the deals in the early part of the decade is still slow in absorption of space and so are the retail and commercial spaces.
Aggarwal said, “The overall demand for commercial office space is subdued in comparison to the supply which is estimated to be approximately 400 million sq.ft during 2010 to 2014, implying caution and the need for quality supply at the right prices.” According to him, the demand for retail space across the country is estimated to be 55 million sq.ft; of which the top seven cities will witness approximately 53 per cent.
The total mall supply expected between the period under review is approximately 93 million sq.ft. NCR, followed by Pune, is likely to witness the highest demand-supply gap over the next five years, with supply overshooting demand.

BRTS Premium Row: CREDAI Supports GB Resolution For Rate Reduction

(Pune Mirror, October 12, 2010)
The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has invited objections and suggestions for the reduction in the BRTS premium rates that have been passed by the general body (GB) of the municipal corporation.
More importantly, the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) has come out in favour of the proposed reduction in premium rates effectively pitting the builder lobby against municipal commissioner.
Anil-Pharande
 
 
Anil Pharande, president, CREDAI Pimpri Chinchwad unit, said, “The premium rates decided earlier are very high and not practical. It will increase the cost of construction. Suppose, the rate for TDR is Rs 700 per sq ft and then PCMC asks us to pay a premium of Rs 900 per sq ft.
This itself adds up to Rs 1600 per sq feet to the overall cost. Hence, it is necessary to reduce the premium rates. The current proposal to charge 25 per cent of the ready reckoner rate is appropriate.”
In August, the PCMC GB passed a resolution to reduce the premium charges to 25 per cent of the ready reckoner rate for allowing extra FSI. The ready reckoner rate is the rate of the land decided by the government, which is generally very less as compared to the market rate of the land in that area. So, the premium cost would also come down substantially.
After the suggestions and objections have been tabled, the proposal would be sent to the State government for approval. The issue had created quite a furore, after Opposition members alleged that the reduction in premium would cause loss of thousands of crores of rupees in revenue to PCMC. Sharma had remarked then that the GB is asking for a drastic reduction in premium rates, which, in his view, should not be done.
The PCMC had planned eight BRTS corridors in PCMC and would be spending in excess of Rs 2,100 crore for consructing these. The PCMC would be spending around 30 to 40 per cent of this amount, while the rest would be funded under JNNURM by the Central and the State governments.
So, to recover to construction cost of these roads, PCMC is allowing 0.8 extra FSI upto 100 metres on each side of the BRTS roads. For giving this extra FSI, PCMC would charge premium rates of 300,600,900 per sq. ft in A,B,C zones in PCMC. The state government also approved the proposal.
“PCMC had earlier given the powers of deciding the rates of BRTS premium to the municipal commisioner and the administration. But they made a blunder and proposed very high premium rates, which would make construction costs unviable.
The rates that have been passed by the general body now are appropriate. We expect the State government to give approval to the same in the next two to three months.”
Current Development Control Rule
TDR generated from any of the zone, from the sanctioned development plan (DP) of old and extended limit shall be allowed in the BRT corridor on payment of premium charges, which should not be less than what is decided by the general body (GB).
These premium charges are to be decided by the PCMC Commisioner from time to time. Premium shall not be charged for the 0.4 FSI of road widening area of the receiving plot
Modification Proposed
TDR generated from any of the zone, from the sanctioned DP of old and extended limit shall be allowed in the BRT corridor on payment of premium charges, and the said premium shall not be charged as per the policy sanctioned by the govt but shall be charged at the rate of 25 per cent of the govt ready reckoner rate of the receiving plot. Premium shall not be charged for the 0.40 FSI of road widening area of the receiving plot.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) Launches Unique Health Smart Card Scheme

(Indian Express, Oct 12 2010)
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Monday launched its unique health smart card scheme. The first health card was issued for Mayor Yogesh Behl.
Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma said health smart cards are aimed at doing away with tedious paper work. “Once the registration process and issue of health cards to patients gather momentum, we will gradually stop issuing case papers. The era of paperless hospitals is dawning in town,” he said.
Health cards, he said, would save a lot of time for patients who had to queue up for getting case papers and then lining up before the doctor. Sharma said every member of a family would get a health card.
The civic chief said the health smart cards are web-based which means the patients’ history can be obtained even by a doctor sitting in the US or UK. “Any doctor in the country or outside would be able to get the history of the patient from Pimpri-Chinchwad through Internet,” said Sharma. Pimpri-Chinchwad has a population of 15 lakh.
PCMC health chief Dr Nagkumar Kunachgi said the software for the health cards have been designed by Amruta Technology. “This year, we have a budget of Rs 3.75 crore for the health smart cards, including software and hardware,” he said.
Dr Anand Jagdale, medical superintendent of Yeshwantrao Chavan Medical Hospital, where the registration of patients and other details began, said, “The health smart cards would initially be issued only at YCM Hospital for Rs 20,” he said. Dr Jagdale said a patient coming with a health card will have also his details stored on the computer.
“If the doctor asks him to go for an X-ray, he won’t require a case paper. He will simply have to go to the X-ray depatment and the doctor will forward the details to the department,” he said. Dr Jagdale said initially the doctors will find a little more work load, but in the course of time, they will get used to it.
Dr Nagkumar said after YCM Hospital, the health smart cards will be issued at all other seven PCMC hospitals.