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Corporation To Act Tough On Defiant Cell Tower Agencies

GHMC may crack its whip against all cell tower agencies erecting their towers without paying it the required fee, post Lok Sabha elections.

The corporation’s property tax collection for the year 2018-19 could have been higher had the property tax arrears owed to it by mobile tower agencies been paid on time.

The 14 cell tower agencies existing in the city owed almost Rs. 15 crore to the corporation and the commissioner M. Dana Kishore issued notices to them for payment of the same.

A meeting was organised with representatives of the agencies recently to focus on this. However, till the final day, only Rs. 4.62 crore was recovered from arrears, which is just a fraction of the amount.

Officials have informed that two cell tower agencies approached the court, and have been directed to pay a third of the arrears within four weeks. In any case, after Parliament polls, action will be taken against the defaulters, they said.

The tax collection is lower than the target also owing to the absence of book adjustments with sister organisations such as HMDA and HMWS&SB. The book adjustments to the tune of Rs. 19 crore with HMDA and Rs. 11 crore with HMWS&SB, and Rs. 6 crore with the Sports Authority of Telangana State could not be shown owing to technical issues. BSNL owing Rs. 3 crore did not get clearance from the centre for the same.

On the other hand, building permission fee collections too could have been even better, had the Environment Committee been constituted, officials said.

Proposals for constitution of the committee have been sent to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, but are yet to be cleared.

Building permissions for about 15-20 projects are pending for lack of the environmental clearance which is mandatory for structures with over 20,000 square meters of built-up area. If the fee thereof is included, the revenue from building permissions could have gone up to Rs. 1000 crore, officials say.―The Hindu

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