PUNE: Proximity with an upscale locality usually helps residents of peripheral areas gain some benefits in terms of rates of property and development — but residents of Lohegaon located towards the east and north side of Viman Nagar demur strongly.
These locals have raised a complaint with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) property tax department, demanding a reduction in their property tax, which is equivalent to that paid by denizens of the comparatively upscale Viman Nagar area.
Lohegaon locals claim that as compared to Viman Nagar, their recently merged village is far behind in terms of development work and property rates. And yet still, the per square foot property tax rate is the same for both areas, inadvertently forcing Lohegaon inhabitants to pay a double tax. They also submitted that the neighbouring Dhanori areas, developed paying less property tax, show that no proper survey has been held while deciding tax slabs.
In their correspondence with PMC since a month, the residents say Viman Nagar is developed with a well-defined Development Plan (DP). “The roads are widened up to 180 ft with all civic amenities. There is a network of sewage and water lines. Widened roads are connected to each housing society and lane.
Malls, IT parks and showrooms, theme parks, public gardens, play areas, recreational halls, public toilets, schools, hospitals, colleges and offices all make this suburb one of the most elite in the city.
On the contrary, recently merged Lohegaon faces severe issues of water and drainage,” says the complaint, adding, “Here, roads are merely around 10 ft-wide without footpaths. The rates of property and land are less than half compared to Viman Nagar, but taxes are still the same.”
The residents further claimed that while Viman Nagar residents pay Rs 3.8 per month per sq ft, just like them, neighbouring Dhanori pays Rs 2.25 per month per sq ft. Lohegaon gaothan resident Sunil Tapkir said, “This is an injustice and needs to be revised. The two suburbs have no proximity as claimed by the authorities. There is a huge defence airport between the localities, separating us. And yet we are forced to pay similar charges in the name of proximity. Residents of Sant Nagar, Gurudwara Colony, Bhukan Wasti, Talekar Wasti are all dominated by the middle class and originally belong to farmer communities. They hardly get any civic amenities.”
Mama Khandve, another resident, echoed, “There is no uniformity while applying the rule of taxes. Some parts of Khese Park in Lohegaon and other localities pay taxes at the Dhanori rates. This shows that the system is being applied without any proper survey or ready reckoner rates.”
Asked about this confusion, joint municipal commissioner Vilas Kanade, who heads the PMC property tax department, said, “We have received communication from Lohegaon residents and are working on their queries. We also plan to re-survey the area to revise the tax slabs. There are a total of 600 divisions of taxes and we do not conduct this survey annually. The development of different areas keeps floating, which is why such differences occur. We will certainly address the grievance of the Lohegaon residents and fresh verification rates will be drafted.”