Hadapsar, August 9, 2020: The flat owners of Amanora Park Town, an Integrated Township at Sade Satra Nali, in Hadapsar, Pune, are experiencing a significant amount of stress during these already difficult times of COVID. Recently, the flat owners have started to receive inconsistent property tax bills that could cause a considerable amount of financial burden to them. Amanora Park Town being a project built under Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, some of these taxes may not apply fully to them.
In these environment of no certainty, job losses and psychological breakdown, this was the last thing the flat owners of Amanora were expecting to receive. It appears either Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is ignorant about the provisions of Urban Planning notification of relevant rebate given in Clause 12.8 or deliberately ignored it while calculating the tax provisions. Amanora got its integrated township status since October 2019 which PMC failed to recognize.
Amanora Park Town is situated in Hadapsar, Pune and is home to about 4500 families. The township is managed by City Corporation that is also building and selling new flats in the township. This township was under the Gram Panchayat of village Sade Satra Nali till 2017-18. The Gram Panchayat of Sade Satra Nali was moved under Pune Municipal Corporation with effect from 2018. The current issue of this tax burden is not as straight forward as it seems, some new evidences started to emerge as soon as a group of Amanora flat owners began to knock the doors of authorities to have better understanding of these new taxes, which according to them should not be applied to them. As per City Corporation, Gram Panchayat taxes has already been settled and they shared the status of settlement with Zila Parishad with PMC. Under such circumstances, they decided to levy the arrears on flat owners ignoring any previous conversation, settlement made earlier.
In addition to this, there is no clarity on how the area of individual flats has been arrived at and the manner in which the taxes have been calculated. Some flat owners have raised RTI for further information, against which PMC has asked them contact a special number (020-25501173) to get the details rather than responding in writing. PMC has refused to recognize or entertain so far any evidences, arguments and request for considerations from flat owners, City Corporation and even our elected representatives. The local MLA Chetan Tupe and MP Dr. Amol Kolhe provided necessary support to flat owners. Dr Kolhe and Tupe also accompanied a group of flat owners and City Corporation representatives to meet the commissioner but still the flat owners are waiting for any positive development which appears to be elusive.
Meanwhile, aggrieved flat owners also knocked the door of Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray using online petition which was signed by large number of flat owners expressing their resentment. On receiving the email from flat owners containing the reference to the petition, CM’s office responded within 24 hours notifying that the same has been given to relevant department to deal with. Meanwhile, residents continue to struggle and has also done a massive twitter campaign with twitter hashtag #AmanoraPMCTax which is doing its rounds on Twitter. There is considerable anguish and anger among the flat owners as they are going through enormous hardships and they need better visibility of of additional tax burden. Flat owners are already paying significant amount of Infrastructure Charges to City Corporation for management of township and the PMC taxes tends to ignore those services which are already being provided by City Corporation. No plausible explanation for these redundant nature of tax are available from anyone where flat owners have been left in lurch. PMC is unable to explain why it is not able to provide applicable discounts under the provisions given under Urban development notification No.TPS-1818/1349/CR-229/18/20(4)/UD-13 clause 12.8 dated 20/11/2018. Meanwhile, City Corporation has decided to approach High Court for resolution of this matter as all other means and options have failed.
The key demands from the residents are as follows:-
- Removal of Gram Panchayat arrears with immediate effect as it is settled by City Corporation. Any dispute on settlement should be handled between City Corporation, Zila Parishad and Gram Panchayat.
- Immediate withdrawal of any tax notice till such time it is established the amount and the method of calculation inline with applicable notifications and laws.
- Follow the applicable laws under Integrated Township Project for applicability of taxes, if any.
- The overlap between the charges between PMC and City Corporation should be addressed so that any payout by flat owners are fair and reasonable on the basis of services they receive.
- City Corporation should also review its current infrastructure charges and work with flat owners to evaluate where it can be optimized as the new constructions are coming up and there is a room for improvement in the current charges
- Formation of independent infrastructure services company by City Corporation for management of township and keeping the corpus in secured funds using agreed modes with flat owners. Currently this is unsecured loan to City Corporation for which an interest is being paid to corpus.
- Clarity on the status of Amanora Park Town as a Integrated Township Project and applicable provisions.