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- Consumer forum jails three Nagpur-based builders for contempt
The judges however told the builders they could escape jail if they returned Rs 9.5 lakh with 12% interest till date along with fine amount within a month.Vaibhav Ganjapure | TNN | March 10, 2020, 11:00 IST
NAGPUR: Terming three builders “white collared criminals”, the Additional District Dispute Consumer Redressal Forum here awarded three years simple imprisonment to them along with a fine of Rs 45,000 for deliberately not complying with its earlier orders.
Censuring them for not returning the complainants money even after 14 years the judges Smita Chandekar and Avinash Prabhunestated the builders didn’t deserve any leniency and deterrent punishment was to avoid such fleecing of gullible customers.
Builders Nilesh, Rajesh and Chandrakant Patel through their firm Kalindi Infrastructure had taken Rs 9.5 lakh from complainants Rajiv and Rachana Mokashe for building a duplex house at Kamptee on May 22, 2006. They, however, failed to hand over possession of the house nor refunded the down payment for it.
The judges however told the builders they could escape jail if they returned Rs 9.5 lakh with 12% interest till date along with fine amount within a month.
While holding builders guilty under Section 27 of Consumer Protection Act, the forum observed it was their modus operandi of receiving down payment from customers and utilizing it for their own benefit. “Since 2006, the amount paid by the complainants to builders could have grown to over Rs 25 lakh. Their behaviour of not following forum’s orders is very objectionable and therefore they are liable for the punishment,” the judges ruled.
After failure of builder to give possession of duplex for over a decade, Mokashe couple knocked the forum’s doors for refund of their money. On February 6, 2017, the forum directed Patels to either give possession of duplex to the complainants or pay Rs 9.5 lakh with 12% interest within a month. They were also slapped with Rs 15,000 fine for physical and mental harassment of complainants along with litigation cost.
Since the order was ex-parte, as Patels didn’t reply to notice nor appeared before the forum, Mokashes sent the order by registered post along with a court’s notice. However, both were returned to as “unclaimed”. The Mokashe couple once again knocked forum’s doors for contempt of its orders and subsequently summons was issued on February 12, 2018, against Patels.
All three builders then appeared before the judges on August 14, 2018, and clarified they wouldn’t be able to give the house but were ready for returning entire amount with 12% interest in two months. However, when they failed to refund the amount even after 16 months, the forum awarded jail term and slapped new penalty of Rs 45,000.
- Nagpur civic body seizes properties over unpaid tax All the five godowns were owned by one Sangita Gopichand Sahare, stated a press note issued by zone assistant municipal commissioner Ganesh Rathore.
NAGPUR: Ashi Nagar zone of the cash-strapped NMC on Monday seized godowns of five domestic cylinder gas agencies in Sahare Layout for defaulting on property tax to the tune of Rs7,41,300 since last many years.
Apart from this, the zone has also seized movable properties like television sets, sofa sets, two-wheelers, refrigerators, ceiling fans etc of five other property tax owners in default, who had together not paid tax to the tune of over Rs1.41 lakh.
All the five godowns were owned by one Sangita Gopichand Sahare, stated a press note issued by zone assistant municipal commissioner Ganesh Rathore.
“If these defaulters fail to clear their property tax dues within 15 days, NMC will auction the properties,” he warned.
- Over 90% buildings in Nagpur face threat of triple property tax He presented the NMC’s budget before the standing committee on Monday. A standing committee member told TOI that Mundhe made an announcement in this regard in his budget speech.
NAGPUR: Over 90% buildings in the city are facing the threat of paying triple property tax if plans of municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe materialize. Mundhe announced that the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) will levy triple property tax on buildings lacking occupancy certificate (OC).
He presented the NMC’s budget before the standing committee on Monday. A standing committee member told TOI that Mundhe made an announcement in this regard in his budget speech.
On Tuesday, Mundhe said, “OC is mandatory as per building rules. There is a provision in the rules to recover two times more property tax for violation of building bylaws. Therefore, it is expected from all owners of buildings and builders to obtain OC so that they are not penalized. NMC will give them a chance to obtain OC and then start penalizing,” he said.
OC is mandatory for every building since introduction of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966. The state government had made it mandatory for all urban local bodies to recover triple property tax on unauthorized constructions since the last eight years.
NMC had levied penalty property tax only on a very few buildings. There are over 3,000 buildings which were served notices under the MRTP Act. But, the civic body did not levy penalty on all such buildings.
Congress corporator Praful Gudadhe said, “Mundhe’s decision is not justified. Over 95% buildings do not have OC. It is the mistake of NMC and NIT for not implementing rules effectively all these years. Also, a building cannot be termed as unauthorized if it lacks OC. The number of individual buildings is high, so many will suffer. Instead, NMC should hold special camps, regularize unauthorized structures in compounding scheme and then compel for OC,” he said.
BJP corporator Virendra Kukreja said, “I came to know that Mundhe announced it in his budget but it will be an anti-public move. There are many buildings which can’t get sanction due to hassles in ownership titles. It should be implemented only on flat schemes and malls, that too by allowing internal changes,” he said.
Credai president Mahesh Sadhwani said NMC should not implement it with retrospective effect. “I also feel that all buildings should have OC. Therefore, NMC should implement it on buildings which will be given sanction from now onwards. It will consume a lot time and also need many documents for getting OC for existing buildings,” he said.
Rules and lack of implementation
OC is mandatory for all buildings since introduction of MRTP Act, 1966
Over 90% buildings do not have OC in city due to ineffective implementation of rules by NMC and NIT for all these years
State government made it mandatory for urban local bodies to recover triple property tax from unauthorized constructions in 2012
It means property tax will become Rs3,000 if existing tax is Rs1,000 till demolition or regularization of unauthorized construction
NMC levied it only on a very few unauthorized buildings
It did not even levy it on buildings which were served notices under MRTP Act
Municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe has announced that NMC will start levying triple property tax on buildings lacking OC
Mundhe said a chance will be given for obtaining OC first
- Nagpur: Societies ban entry of maids, delivery boys as corona bites Many of these societies are home to millionaires, who have decided to do domestic chores themselves than take the risk of exposing themselves to the pandemic.
March 25, 2020, 12:00 IST
NAGPUR: With number of coronavirus cases increasing in India, many citizens have joined hands with central and state governments to enforce the lockdown. A large number of apartment schemes have banned the entry of housemaids, courier delivery boys, food delivery personnel, car washers, etc.
Some are not even allowing newspaper delivery boys. Only the milkmen are exempt. Many of these societies are home to millionaires, who have decided to do domestic chores themselves than take the risk of exposing themselves to the pandemic.
Godrej Anandam, a mini-township in Ganeshpeth, which has very rich occupants, has banned the entry of outsiders except the relatives of flat owners. Even family friends are not allowed.
The executive body of Rachana Sahil Apartments, Subhash Nagar, on Monday banned entry of domestic helps, car washers, delivery boys, etc. Only those delivering newspapers and milk will be allowed entry. They will have to sanitize themselves before entering the premises. There were some flat owners who opposed the decision but they were overruled by the majority.
Monali Mudholkar of Narhari Residency, Mangaldeep Nagar, Besa Road, said her society had banned entry of outsiders to reduce the risk of coronavirus and help government in battling the pandemic. “Household helps do not come under essential services. Most flat occupants are at home as schools, colleges, offices and factories are shut. Hence we decided to do domestic chores ourselves. The government is doing its job and we citizens must also contribute,” she said.
Suchitra Mange of Tech-Op Laxmi Apartment, Tirupati Nagar, Koradi Road, said that her society office-bearers had also decided to ban entry of outsiders. “I am facing problems because I am not well and I have small kids. However, these are not normal times.”
Dhiraj Khandelwal of Rachna Srushti Apartments, KT Nagar, said that the decision had been taken for the safety of the flat owners as well as that of maids. “We told the maids how to keep themselves safe when they are at home,” he said.
Some other flat schemes where maids and delivery boys are no longer allowed are: Rachana Aangan (Jaitala Road), Capitol Heights (Imambada), Pioneer Regency (KT Nagar), Shiv Society (Besa), Patrakar Colony (Civil Lines), etc.
The ban on maids is causing problems for many people. A female media personnel had to take leave as her mother recently had an operation and her daughter is very young. Both the nurse and child’s maid were not allowed entry. A lady doctor’s husband, who is now at home, is having difficulty handling their two small kids. There are several senior citizens living alone who depend upon domestic help for everything from cooking to purchasing essential items.
- Lockdown benefit: Country breathing cleaner air
Manka Behl | TNN | Apr 12, 2020, 04:26 IST
Nagpur: While various states have announced extending the lockdown till April 30, the bright side of it is that citizens will be breathing much cleaner air. Latest analysis done by environment organization Climate Trends reveals that many cities in the country saw an improvement in air quality during the lockdown.
The analysis of air pollution levels shows that out of 101 cities, 35 recorded good air quality on the fourth day of nationwide curfew. The analysis claimed these levels were unprecedented and have not been since the Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in 2014.
Moreover, New Delhi recorded its best ever AQI of 45 on March 26 which was the first good air quality day in the capital since August 18 last year and only the third in more than three years.
Analysis of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data brought to the fore that the near-complete stoppage of daily traffic has led to drastic fall in the levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5. The pollutants levels dropped by 62% in Delhi, 45% in Mumbai, 31% in Pune and 57% in Ahmedabad post April 6.
However, the biggest impact has been on the levels nitrogen dioxide which is formed from the burning of coal and vehicular emissions. The high presence of pollutant can increase the risk of respiratory ailments. In Pune, NOx pollution has reduced by 62% in the week starting April 6, in Mumbai by 60%, in Delhi by 50% and in Ahmedabad by 32%, the analysis stated.
It further highlighted that in 38 monitoring stations in Delhi, NOx levels dropped drastically, except in Jehangirpuri which recorded highest NOx levels in the capital at an avg of 77.63 on the third day of the lockdown, indicating the pollutants other sources apart from vehicles.
Its not just the cities that are breathing easy but also industrial clusters in Gujarat like Vapi, Ankaleshwar and Vatva have also reported cleaner air during the lockdown. Vapi, ranked as the most polluted industrial cluster on the Central Pollution Control Boards (CPCB) Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), recorded a 79.7% drop in sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels, one of the key emissions from coal-fired thermal power plants. The air quality index in Vapi dropped to 100 from 313 on March 19, the analysis added.
Stating that a nationwide lockdown should not be needed to achieve improved air quality, the analysis suggested some mitigation measures for policy-makers. Monitoring data proves that shut down of local sources from activities like transport, construction and industries have reduced PM2.5, PM10 and NOx levels, but background pollution levels remain even amidst the complete halt to the economy. The existing way of producing energy and economic activity have to transform towards sustainable and clean energy systems if India is to experience clean air in future, it stated.
Further adding that Indian power grid system has been grossly underestimated, the analysis stated, With the nine minutes of solidarity event of April 9, it is clear the grid system is flexible enough to handle a greater percentage of variable solar and wind energy. Efforts need to be made to implement learnings from this event.
It added that vehicles on the road need to be zero emission vehicles for them to stop being a health hazard.
What analysis states
- Nationwide lockdown led to significant improved air quality across the country
- Out of 101 cities, 35 recorded good air quality on 4th day of curfew
- New Delhi recorded its best ever AQI of 45 on March 26
- PM2.5 levels dropped by 62% in Delhi, 45% in Mumbai, 31% in Pune and 57% in Ahmedabad post April 6
- Industrial clusters in Gujarat , Vapi, Ankaleshwar and Vatva have also reported cleaner air
- Vapi recorded a 79.7% drop in SO2 levels
- Vehicles on the road need to be zero emission
- Clean construction practices are mandatory
- Sustainable energy system needed
- Tehsildar escapes bid on life by sand mafia
Soumitra Bose | TNN | May 13, 2020, 04:20 IST
Nagpur: Pauni tehsildar Gajanan Kokorde, circle officer Kawte and team had a narrow escape from being mowed down after they intercepted two sand mafia trucks. In a bid to escape, the sand mafia men rammed the vehicle of the revenue department officials on Moru river bridge near Bhiwapur in the early hours of Tuesday.
An offence of attempt to murder has been registered against Rabbul Khan and Kalam Khan for their alleged involvement in attacking the revenue department team.
Apart from dashing Kokordes car, the sand mafia men had also thrashed patwari Patil accompanying the revenue officers.
Its learnt Kokorde and his team had tried to intercept trucks of the sand mafia near Neelaj, but the smugglers managed to flee the spot. After intercepting two trucks, Kokorde had asked the drivers to follow him to Pauni police station. He had also asked Patil board a truck and make the driver to follow him.
After a short distance, the truck driver and his accomplice thrashed Patil and fled after throwing him off the vehicle. Kokorde noticed this and he started chasing the trucks. He intercepted the vehicles once again on Moru river bridge after overtaking them. In a bid to flee, one of the truck drivers dashed Kokordes vehicle from behind and fled the spot.
Kokorde initially approached Bhiwapur police station but the case was later transferred to Pauni police station.
Activist Nitin Tiwari said the sand mafia members had also attacked a woman tehsildar in Nagpur earlier.
- Nagpur civic body eyes Rs 261 crore property tax Assistant municipal commissioner Milind Meshram told TOI that printing of 7.31 lakh tax invoices for financial year 2020-21 is already on.
NAGPUR: Facing poor recovery amid the lockdown, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) will start distributing property tax invoices to citizens from May-end.
Assistant municipal commissioner Milind Meshram told TOI that printing of 7.31 lakh tax invoices for financial year 2020-21 is already on. All 10 zones will start distribution of invoices from May-end. To encourage early tax payment, 4% incentive is given for payment of property tax for the entire year before May 31.
The NMC has pegged the current year’s tax demand to Rs261.60 crore from 7,31,421 property owners.
Meshram said due to coronavirus scare, printing of tax invoices got delayed by a month this year. So, the civic body has decided not to impose penalty on the taxpayers till December 31. “This year, the NMC will not levy any interest for delay in payment of tax in this calendar year,” he said, adding for payment after December 31, a simple interest of 2% will be levied.
According to the officer, those who pay half-yearly tax after receiving invoices before December 31 will get 2% rebate and those clearing the annual tax at a single go will be entitled to get 4% discount in their general tax amount.
The NMC’s property tax collection in the last financial year was Rs245 crore. Last year, the NMC had delayed distribution of tax invoices because of non-focus works like Swachh Bharat mission, Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The coronavirus scare is all set to further hit the recovery due to poor financial condition of the taxpayers too.
Standing committee chairman Vijay Zalke admitted to poor tax recovery by the NMC. “Once the city overcomes the Covid scare, I will ensure that NMC starts focusing on property tax collection and all 10 assistant municipal commissioners will be taken to task,” said Zalke.
The property tax department has calculated Rs112 crore as current year’s demand from 6.60 lakh property owners, Rs57.19 crore from 65,238 residents, Rs12.12 crore from 3,488 citizens.
TOI had already highlighted poor recovery due to absence of any punitive action by the NMC. Even in last fiscal, the NMC had managed to recover only Rs123.28 crore of the Rs233.73 crore current demand.
- Nagpur: Property tax dues over Rs 679 crore as 60% owners default The cumulative tax dues, excluding the current year’s property tax demand, have now crossed Rs679.04 crore from 4,36,681 property owners.
May 22, 2020, 09:10 IST
NAGPUR: As many as 60% property owners in the city have defaulted on the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) property tax in 2019-2020.
As per the property tax department, of 6,84,750 property owners, only 2,75,480 have paid tax of Rs108.77 crore for the last financial year, while 4.09 lakh residential and commercial property owners haven’t paid their dues of Rs125.19 crore.
The cumulative tax dues, excluding the current year’s property tax demand, have now crossed Rs679.04 crore from 4,36,681 property owners.
The department’s data reveals that the biggest number of tax defaulters are from Laxmi Nagar zone where 43,415 property owners owe Rs125.72 crore to the NMC, followed by Nehru Nagar zone (60,659 property owners, Rs120.03 crore arrears) and Ashi Nagar zone (97,153 property owners, Rs102.40 crore dues).
NMC has taken several initiatives to improve tax collection, especially arrears. The total outstanding arrears have increased to Rs679.04 crore from Rs514.75 crore in 2019-20, which were Rs323.36 crore in 2018-19.
Sources said the arrears are piling up because of objections and litigations over tax invoices being generated by the civic body. The NMC has made no efforts at the zonal level to resolve the objections submitted by property owners.
Sources also added that intervention by corporators too was responsible for mounting property tax arrears. “Many times, elected representatives, including office-bearers in the civic body, succeed in preventing the civic administration from taking any punitive action,” admitted a senior official.
With the civic body’s deteriorating financial situation, sources stressed that the causes for this huge outstanding revenue needs to be addressed urgently and rigorous efforts should be made to reverse the trend of increasing arrears so the dues can be brought to manageable levels.
Citing an example, sources said in 2014-15, the arrears from property tax stood at Rs130.69 crore, but have grown to Rs679 crore — which is approximately five times over the last six years. Sources pointed out that among the defaulters, big commercial establishments and government offices account for over Rs250 crore dues.
NMC’s tax department should adopt a two-pronged strategy to reduce such huge dues — focus on optimizing disposal in terms of numbers and allocate development fund on the basis of tax paid in every prabhag, said sources.