Less than 24 hours after GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu announced that the top 1,000 tax defaulters list would be displayed on the official website; the civic body had to change the nomenclature of the list. From the ‘top 1,000 defaulters’, it was forced to become ‘top 1,000 arrears’ list.
That the list was put up hastily and without due diligence expected from the municipal corporation when it decided to publish it became apparent when this newspaper’s name too figured in the list! A sum of Rs.34 lakh was shown as arrears including penal interest for the past many years when the fact was that payments were up to date according to the records.
When brought to their notice, the GHMC central zone officials perused the records and realised that the central server was not updated, apologised and removed the name from the list as the payment was made last month for the entire amount.
The Commissioner on Wednesday had told a press conference that all the payments made this year were 100 per cent digitised and reflected immediately on the central server. It was clear he was misled into believing that the database was foolproof as senior officials requesting anonymity admitted.
“We are trying to make our database transparent,” said senior officials. The usual process of arriving at a tax rate and checking for payment is from the bill collector to the valuation officer, then to the chief valuation officer before being uploaded onto the central server. “There is no testing certification of our software and no proper data upgradation. It is not fair to put up a so-called defaulters list without screening,” aver senior officials.