Chennaiites see red as Corporation hikes tax steeply

By Santhosh Mathevan Published on Jul 24, 2018 04:37 PM IST

Chennai: After two decades, the Greater Chennai Corporation has hiked property tax rates starting from the first half of this fiscal year 2018-19.

As per the recent announcements, the tax rates will be hiked not more than 100 per cent for commercial and rented properties and not more than 50 per cent for residential properties. The last time it was raised was in 1998 when the Corporation of Chennai revised the property tax rates.

The announcement has not received a positive reception from tax-payers. Since there was no development with the taxes that were collected already, they question the reason for this revision.

"We have been demanding a common parking space for all complexes in Vadapalani for a long time. The civic body is not ready to provide any such facility. In this scenario, why should they increase taxes?" asks Duraikannu, a hotel owner from Vadapalani.

He recalled an incident that happened a year ago when the civic body was taking stringent action against hotels and restaurants in the neighbourhoods of Vadapalani, Alwarpet, Teynampet, Nungambakkam and T Nagar. Some restaurants were also shut down and sealed by officials for not having parking space. "Since then, we have been asking for a parking lot that would be common for the area," he pointed out.

Vivek Kumar Jain, who runs an eatery on TTK Road, said, "We have valet parking space. When our building was constructed in the 1990s, there was no strict rule for a commercial complex to have parking space. So, we did not consider that. But after making it mandatory, we are helpless. Our valet parking is in the land of a private owner."

Vivek also said parking was one of the many issues they faced. "Many complexes in the city do not even have proper road connectivity, drainage facility, and are inaccessible to sanitary workers. There are no pedestrian paths in front of buildings along TTK Road, Greenways Road and Muthuramalinga Thevar Road," he listed out.

There are similar issues for residents as well. "You can see a lot of potholed roads in the area," said, Rajalakshmi, secretary, Gangaiamma Colony Residents Association, Virugambakkam.

The question raised by most of the residents is what has the corporation done with tax money collected so far? "You can see huge flyovers around the city. Having these bridges and medians alone is not a sign of development. Every street in the city has to have all infrastructure facilities. Most areas I have visited in the city do not have proper roads, sanitation, and stormwater drain. It is visibly evident that the tax money we have paid is not used wisely," she said.