Pimpri-Chinchwad, 23rd December 2023: In a positive turn of events, the aftermath of waiving penalties (shastikar) on unauthorized constructions in Pimpri-Chinchwad has seen property owners contributing a staggering Rs 152 crores in taxes over the last eight months. This significant amount has been deposited into the treasury of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and is earmarked for future development projects in the city.
Approximately a year ago, the decision to regularize unauthorized constructions in Pimpri-Chinchwad was announced by the authorities. Since then, more than 152 crores have been paid towards basic tax out of the total due amount of 850 crores to the municipal treasury.
Initially, houses built by citizens occupying one and a half guntha areas were deemed unauthorized. The Shastikar scheme, introduced in 2008, aimed to regularize these constructions. However, the penalty tax imposed was higher than the basic tax, leading property owners to hesitate in payment. Consequently, penalty tax arrears had soared to over 850 crores, adversely affecting the financial progress of the municipal corporation.
In response to the mounting penalty tax arrears, city MLAs raised the issue in the legislative assembly, advocating for the outright waiver of the penalties. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which assumed power in the Municipal Corporation in 2017, had hoped for Shastikar’s waiver.
Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also committed to the amnesty. However, the change of government in the state in 2019 delayed the resolution of the issue during the Mahavikas Aghadi rule. It was only after the BJP-Shiv Sena Shinde faction came to power in the grand coalition that Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis decided to waive the penalties in the winter session at Nagpur on December 21, 2022.
Shastikar has been a prominent campaign issue in various elections, including assembly elections in Pimpri, Chinchwad, and Bhosari, Lok Sabha elections, and municipal elections. The decision to waive penalty taxes from December 22, 2022, to December 12, 2023, has seen 18,039 property owners in the city benefiting from the exemption. Out of these, 8,397 owners have obtained penalty tax exemption certificates, contributing a substantial 152.99 crores to the municipal treasury.
Additionally, penalty taxes totaling 323.20 crores have been waived, providing relief to taxpayers and boosting the financial condition of the municipality.