Constant Delays From Pune Municipal Corporation Instigate Frustration Among Wagholi Residents

Constant Delays From Pune Municipal Corporation Instigate Frustration Among Wagholi Residents

Constant Delays From Pune Municipal Corporation Instigate Frustration Among Wagholi Residents

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On 8th March, Ajit Pawar, the Deputy CM of Maharashtra, had announced a halt in collection of property tax from the residents of Wagholi.

7 June 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari 

Ajit Pawar, the guardian minister and deputy chief minister, has instructed Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) staff to stop pursuing unpaid property tax debt from inhabitants of combined villages. The residents voiced their worries about the tactics being used to reclaim unpaid taxes and the collection of taxes, which led to the issuance of the directive. 

Pawar was presiding over a meeting that was called to address a number of problems that the people living in the combined villages were facing. The locals bemoaned the lack of basic amenities like clean roads and running water.

On 13th March, the members of team WACO had raised an RTI seeking the status and details of the provision that was declared by Ajit Pawar on various forums on the discontinuation of property tax collection from Wagholi residents. They received no response from the PMC’s end within the designated time of 48 hours to 30 days after having filed the RTI. Subsequently, the team filed an appeal on 14th April. On 27th May, after a tediously stretched period of 43 days after the first appeal was filed, they finally received a letter from the PMC wherein it was stated that they will have a hearing with Asmita Tambe, the assistant commissioner at PMC tax department on 31st May at 12 pm.

If this whole situation wasn’t drawn out long enough, after reaching the PMC office for the hearing on time, the founder of team WACO, Anil Kumar Mishra, discovered that there were people who had been waiting for the commencement of the hearing for hours because the concerned officer did not show up on time. 

Expressing his disappointment, Anil narrated, “If you have asked people to come for a hearing at a particular time, you should also be present there. You have released a letter clearly mentioning the time and yet people have to wait so much for an official hearing. Even if the concerned officer was running late, we should have been informed from the PMC’s end; rather what happened was that we had to go and inquire ourselves in the commissioner’s office.” 

After an additional wait of 1 and a half hours from the scheduled hearing time, Team WACO, on behalf of Wagholi residents finally brought up their concerns and they were told that the statement given by Ajit Pawar was only oral and nothing in writing was given to the PMC like “written order or G.R.”. Hence, the PMC did not stop raising invoice/demand bills. However, they have not levied any late fees. 

On account of having to wait so much for an answer, Team WACO raised some pertinent questions and said, “First RTI was raised on 13th March only asking if PMC had stopped collecting Property Tax, right after that order by Mr. Ajit Pawar i.e. from 12th March 2024 onwards? Why didn’t the PMC respond? After a month (i.e. on 13th April), 1st appeal was raised on that RTI, then 45 days after 1st appeal, you have sent a letter for hearing on 31st May. Why did the PMC unreasonably waste our 75 days?” 

For now, they have received an apology from the PMC and also a promise that the civic body will provide a written response within this week.