(Indian Express, Oct 17 2010)
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.
PUNE: The water supply department of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has put a clause in tender bid documents making it mandatory for contractors to level the road after the pipelines are laid.
Earlier, the contractors would lay the pipes on roads and refill the trenches with uneven murum, resulting in inconvenience for motorists. Later, the asphalting work of these rough patches was given to new contractors for an extra price. Now, the one who lays the pipes will have to level the road with tar.
Ambadas Chavan, additional city engineer and chief of water supply department, PCMC, confirmed that such a clause has been included in the tender document.
Joint city engineer Pravin Tupe said, “Earlier too the PCMC used to get the trenches filled from the contractor. But now it is being explicitly mentioned as a mandatory condition while inviting bids for future projects. “The tender process will be completed in two months while actual work is expected to begin before the end of this year.”
The condition has been put up in the bid document for 18 projects of the water supply department, estimated to cost Rs 6.71 crore. Of these, 12 projects are to be completed in six months and five in a year. One other project has a two-year deadline.
Sulabha Ubale, group leader of Shiv Sena corporators, said, “The contractors dig up roads and other open areas but fail to fill the trenches. Accidents occur due to uneven roads. There is no co-ordination between the water supply department and the engineering department, due to which there is delay in reasphalting work of roads. The PCMC should ensure that the contractor who has dug up the roads for pipelines fills the trenches and asphalt the roads. ”
PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will transfer control of the Bahinabai Chaudhary zoo, located at Akurdi, from the garden department to the veterinary department to improve the zoo’s administration and ensure better facilities to the animals.
Members of the standing committee expressed concern about the administration of the zoo at the weekly meeting held on Wednesday, while discussing the death of a female leopard at the zoo. They had complained that the animals were being given inferior quality food. The members demanded that the control of the zoo be transferred to the veterinary department to improve its condition.
Meanwhile, Subhash Dumbre, additional commissioner said, “The Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) has granted small zoo status to the Bahinabai Chaudhary zoo. The PCMC had submitted a master plan for the zoo’s development to the CZAI, which was approved one and a half years ago. The PCMC had incurred an expenditure of Rs 1.5 lakh to prepare the master plan and the union government has reimbursed this expenditure recently.”
The total cost of implementation of the master plan is around Rs 15 crore over a period of five years. The total cost of development comprises Rs 2.07 crore for the building, Rs 3.37 crore for basic amenities and Rs 9.46 crore for wildlife related works (for example, cages and veterinary care facilities). The PCMC will receive Rs 5 crore as grant from the CZAI.
The zoo will have around 20 types of reptiles, 3 types of amphibians and 10 species of water birds. It will have a breeding centre for endangered amphibians, a lake for water birds and an enclosure for crocodiles and alligators. There will also be a butterfly collection and breeding centre, a museum of models of extinct animals and a nature and interpretation centre.
Currently the PCMC-run Bahinabai Chaudhary zoo is spread over an area of seven acres and located in the Sambhajinagar area of Akurdi. There are three panthers, birds like the peafowl and peacock, varieties of snakes, a few crocodiles, ducks and a dozen monkeys.
In the 1990s, the zoo was located in a sparsely populated area. Now, however, houses and commercial complexes have come up around it, leaving no scope for the zoo’s expansion.
Based on the directions of the state government, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to introduce the capital value system (CVS) for computing the Annual Rateable Value of a property, for fixing the property taxes in the city. The civic administration has tabled a proposal before the standing committee regarding the move.
The move has been designed to bring uniformity in the taxation system in all the municipal corporations across the state. As a result, if the proposal is cleared, the property tax charges might go up.
At present, the ARV is fixed on the standard rents fixed by the Rent Control Act. Under the ARV system, the probable gross rent of a property is taken into account. For domestic buildings, 20 percent of the amount is calculated. For commercial buildings 25 percent of the amount is calculated.
Under the new CVS, the calculation of tax is based on the value of the land as well as that of the building. It takes into account the capital value of the building, which is in turn based on the cost of the land as well as the cost of the building, net of depreciation.
The proposal says: “In different municipal corporations in the state, there are different methods of fixing the ARV of a particular property. But, in order to bring uniformity, transparency and introduce simplicity, the new method of CVS is being considered.” The ARV fixed under the capital value system, will be updated every five years.
PUNE: The traffic department has given a green signal to 372 new autorickshaw stands in the city, Manoj Patil, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic) announced.
According to Patil, the traffic department has planned a special drive against drivers plying rickshaws without meters. This drive will be carried out in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad during the next seven days.
“Many rickshaw drivers do not use meters. and charge exorbitant fare. So action has been planned against them,” he said.
PUNE: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the Pune police have decided to form five teams to monitor noise pollution in the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad during the last five days of Ganeshotsav. Noise levels would be recorded at 20 locations during the peak hours of the celebrations from 6 pm to midnight.
A calibrated noise level meter would be used in each of the 20 areas, Kumar said. “Legal action will be initiated against those who violate the noise pollution rules. Citizens with complaints can contact the police control room or the local police station,” he added.
Dnyaneshwar Phadtare, deputy commissioner of police (Zone I), said that, “Out of the five monitoring teams, three will function in Zone I, while Zone II would have two teams. The team members have been trained to operate and handle the noise meter.”
“The noise levels were beyond the permissible limit at all the spots monitored in 2009. The sound levels in Pune ranged between 53.3 dBA and 101.8 dBA. In 2008, the noise levels ranged between 62 dBA and 107 dBA, while in 2007, it ranged between 56.8 dBA and 99.3 dBA,” Shinde said.
This year would have lower noise levels because of the efforts taken by the authorities, Shinde said. “We have conducted various citizen awareness programmes and campaigns to check noise pollution. Any form of violation would attract legal action and all the mandal volunteers are aware of this,” he added.
PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is scouting for land for the installation of a rain gauge in the municipal limits. Once the installation is completed, citizens in Pimpri-Chinchwad would be able to know the rainfall in the twin township.
Speaking to TOI, Mustafa Phadnis, assistant commissioner, PCMC said, “The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, has given permission to install the rain gauge in the municipal limits to measure the rainfall.”
Phadnis said, “PCMC wanted to install the rain gauge on top of its main office building in Pimpri. But, as per IMD norms the rain gauge cannot be installed on the terrace of any building. The norms stipulate that the rain gauge has to be installed in an open plot with an area of 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft. There should be no trees or building on the plot to ensure that the maximum amount of rain is collected to give accurate readings.”
“There will be no difficulty in getting such land. It can be installed at any one of our municipal properties scattered across the municipal limits. The IMD officials will be shown the plots and it will be finalised after their permission. We hope to finalise the plot in a week,” replied Phadnis when enquired about the location for the rain gauge.
Speaking to TOI, Kiran Gawde, chief fire officer, said, “The civic body will also have to consider the security of the plot. The IMD will later give training to the civic employees about taking the readings. The PCMC has already bought the rain gauge”.
Pimpri-Chinchwad township, with a population of more than 15 lakh, is known as an industrial township. There is no rain gauge installed in the township. It relies on the rainfall figures given from the rain gauge installed near the Pavana dam. But, the rainfall figures from the dam do not give a clear picture.
The flood control cell of the PCMC will be able to utilise the data during monsoons to predict floods.
PUNE: The standing committee of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) approved a proposal to acquire additional land at Kasarwadi for the flyover being built near Nashik phata.
The PCMC will have to acquire land along the Mumbai-Pune highway stretch for providing the “necessary links” to the flyover. The land to be acquired has not been shown in the PCMC development plan.
The municipal corporation has already started the construction work of the two-storied modern flyover which will go across the railway line as well as the Pavana river at Kasarwadi. The PCMC will be spending over Rs 90 crore on the flyover.
In another decision, the committee approved a proposal to allot work to an agency for carrying out a survey for the development plan of the Tathawade village which was merged within the PCMC limits last year.
Under criticism for the slow pace of development work under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Pune Municipal Corporation has chalked out a four-month plan to launch an extensive land acquisition drive for road widening to set up the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS).
“The civic administration has been able to only complete the acquisition process of the land that was vacant. The development work on the acquired land is almost complete and now steps are being taken to acquire the land that has structures on it,” said Sudhakar Telang, PMC land acquisition and estate officer.
He said land will be acquired on Nagar Road, Alandi Road, Sinhagad Road and Karve Road in the next four months. Telang said that since the property owners or occupants have not cooperated with the civic administration on land acquisition, the special drive will be aimed at using the powers with the civic body for forceful acquisition of land for implementing developmental projects.
“The action will be taken with the help of staff of anti-encroachment department and city police,” he said, adding, the civic body has already served notices to property owners. The action will lead to demolition of structures on roads that are to be developed for BRTS. Under JNNURM, the civic body is carrying out road widening work, developing dedicated bus lanes and cycle tracks among others.
Work on the 16.5 km BRTS stretch from Katraj to Hadapsar via Swargate was launched in 2006, however, it was plagued by accidents and delays. The PMC has now speeded up work on other BRTS routes.
PUNE: New constructions that have come up in villages situated in the 10 kilometre periphery of the Pimpri-Chinchwad township have collectively paid Rs 60 lakh in the last three months for obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the fire brigade.
Kiran Gawde, chief fire officer of PCMC, said the money was charged in accordance with the state government notification issued in May this year to ensure planned development in areas surrounding the Pimpri-Chinchwad township. So far NOCs have been issued to 20 new constructions in 77 villages of Khed and Maval talukas. Earlier, A similar notification was issued to villages lying close to the Pune Municipal Corporation limits.
Uday Wankhede, deputy chief fire officer of PCMC fire brigade said, “Developers of 20 new constructions had applied to obtain the NOC. Most of them were for residential use while others were for hotels and hospitals.”