Residents of East Delhi housing societies condemn property tax on common areas

Residents of Cooperative Group Housing Societies in East Delhi are shocked at the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s move to charge property tax from societies even for the common areas.

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And the latest notice from the corporation wants all societies to cough up arrears in the tax thus calculated from the year 2004-05, citing different sections of the DMC Act for its demand. Delhi news

Residents are shocked, as the notice wants them to pay property tax on the society office, common space, recreation hall, basement, reception, guard room and other common areas.

“Your attention is invited that you were required to submit your property tax return in respect of vacant land, super covered area of the building being in the capacity of owner/occupier of the aforesaid property,” EDMC’s notice issued to societies read.

More shockingly, residents have been asked to pay this tax from 2004-05 till the current year.

“It appears that you have probably failed to furnish the return of property tax without reasonable cause, which you were required to furnish under the 123A/ 123B of the DMC Act,” the notice said.

At a meeting held on Sunday at Nirman Apartments in Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension, members of 22 group housing societies of the neighbourhood condemned the act and described it as arbitrary and unjust.

Sanjeev Jayaswal, president of Nirman Apartments, said, “It is a serious issue and we must all unite to fight it. EMDC has sent this notice without knowing the actual financial condition of the cooperative group housing societies in East Delhi. When most of the societies are facing a tough time maintaining societies due to financial crises, levying more taxes is unjust.”

The members pointed out that the guard rooms were constructed to provide some comfort to the security guards. Private security guards were necessary, as the government had failed to provide security to citizens, the members noted.

JP Sharma, general secretary of Vansundhara Enclave CGHS Federation, said the government should provide financial help to housing societies, not levy more taxes. “In Delhi villages, the government provides funds for Chaupal [public spaces]. The government constructs community centres in villages, and here in societies it is levying taxes on common areas!” Sharma said.

EMDC had made a similar attempt four years ago of levying property tax on vacant common land. “Residents of housing societies pay 100 per cent property tax, despite the fact that we are not receiving any facilities from the government for free. But the government does not dare collect taxes from those who avail facilities from different government agencies,” Sharma added.

Some members said that the issue ought to be fought legally. Purusottam Bhatt, president of United India Apartments, said, “DMC Act-123 A and 123 B are applicable to shops and commercial establishments. Common areas, or other facilities in the societies, are being used by residents and are not commercial units.”

Vipin Bihari, standing committee chairman (EDMC), said, “This proposal is not presented before the standing committee. I assure you that I will raise this issue in the next standing committee meeting.”

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Delhi Government rejects user fees proposed by MCD

The Delhi Government has raised objections on the MCD’s proposal of levying user charges under the Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules that were revised in 2016.

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About two months ago the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) along with a set of environment experts had framed a draft of bye laws on Solid Waste Management (SWM) proposing user charges on individual households. The proposal was then sent to the state government for approval. City Spidey had reported this development on November 23.

The Delhi Government has now returned the proposal saying it would translate to an additional financial burden on the residents of the city. Speaking to City Spidey, Satyendra Kumar Jain, Delhi Urban Development Minister, said, “Collection of garbage comes under the obligatory functions of Delhi Municipal Corporation.”

The government, however has agreed to allow the imposition of user charges on the commercial and industrial units of the city. Delhi News

The draft suggesting user charges was framed jointly by local authorities and a court appointed panel of environmental experts. According to sources it was the environment expert panel that had actually proposed the user charges.

As per the draft proposal, buildings with floor areas upto 50 square meters (within residential areas) shall be charged Rs 50 per month by way of municipal user fee. Depending on square feet area of buildings, different charges have been proposed.

The draft committee had also proposed different charges on commercial establishments, eating places, hotels, restaurants etc subject to their capacity. These range from Rs 500 to Rs 5000.

Dwarka Sector 3 senior citizens request DDA to build them a shelter in locality

Senior citizens of Dwarka Sector 3 want the Delhi Development Authority to construct a shelter in the locality park that can save them from heat and cold. At present, there are five benches that are unable to accommodate all the elderly persons who frequent the park for their daily get-togethers. Dwarka News

The oldest member of the senior citizens’ group is 92, and he gets a place to sit. But many “younger” members have to stand, as the space is limited.

Now, these aged men, numbering over 50, are regulars at the park, where children also play cricket. Which is why the senior citizens want the construction of a shelter with more benches under it, so they can hold their daily meetings more comfortably.

Now the group has prepared a petition for the DDA, seeking the construction of a shelter, with a mesh surrounding it to protect them from cricket ball that can hurt them.

The petition has already been signed by 41 members, all residents of high-rise residential complexes in the locality.

At 92, BB Rajput is the senior-most member of the group. A resident of Heritage Tower Apartments, Rajput said the shelter they seek should be open from all sides but covered with a mesh, so cricket balls don’t hit them.

“It would be ideal if the shelter was of a size 7×6.2 m, with a raised cement flooring, eight benches and one centre table,” Rajput said, adding that “we have made a rough design for DDA to consider”.

DDA can easily fulfil our requirement, as similar shelters as there are similar shelters in the parks of sectors 6, 9 and 12.

MP Sharma, of Balaji Apartments, and a regular at the Sector 3 park, said, “This park is surrounded by many sicieties, such as Balaji Apartments, National Apartments, Astha Kunj Apartments, Heritage Tower Apartments and Welcome Apartments, and is regularly used by many residents. You can see how crowded this park is in the evenings. We are senior citizens and we cannot sit on the ground. We use these benches. But these are not ideal for us,” Sharma said.

A senior DDA official promised to look into the matter and do the needful when City Spidey sought his comments on the senior citizens’ petition.

Residents of Delhi may soon get public documents delivered to their doorstep

After two months, residents of Delhi may witness a major change in the system of public services extended by the state government.

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They may not have to visit government offices for availing birth and death certificates, driving licence and other public identity documents. The Delhi government is introducing a scheme through which all these documents will be home-delivered. All that people have to do is dial the prescribed numbers (to be announced at the time of launching this scheme) and place a request for the specific documents and provide their residential address. Delhi News

As per official sources, the government will set up a call centre in each city district in association with a private company. After the applicants place their request for documents over the phone, a sahayak (a government official from the concerned department) will visit the address provided with a biometric device and a camera. The documents will be prepared on site and handed over to the applicants for a minimum fee predetermined by the government. According to the government, during the first phase, as many as 40 services (documents) will be delivered. The list of these services will be made available after the government completes its set-up for operating the system.

The proposal for this scheme was drafted in November last year, with inputs from officials of several key departments in the Delhi government. This scheme looks at ending the cumbersome system of queuing up before government offices. It also aims to curb the corruption of government officials.

This scheme, which many are calling the “home delivery of governance”, is a brainchild of the Kejriwal-led AAP government. Incidentally, when last month, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had returned the proposal, he had received a slew of allegations from Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister of Delhi  However, Baijal had dismissed the allegations saying he had sent back the proposal with questions.  

Now that the lieutenant governor has approved the scheme, the Kejriwal government will have to demonstrate its worth on the ground.

SP Sharma, a resident of East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase I, said, “Much has been talked about this scheme, but its efficacy can be measured only after it is implemented.”

Doorstep delivery of documents is an ambitious plan of the AAP government. In the words of Srikant Verma, a member of the Preet Vihar RWA, “After three and a half years of governance, AAP has managed to provide free water and subsidised electricity. AAP’s ambitious anti-corruption helpline number [1031] had become a controversial issue, with a verdict still pending in court. There may be some political glitches in implementing the proposed scheme, but I think the people of Delhi will welcome it.”

Chargesheet filed in the case of 4-yr-old girl’s sexual assault in Dwarka school

The police, on January 15, filed a chargesheet against a private school in Dwarka in the case of sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl on school premises by a boy in her class.

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According to sources, four persons have been named in the chargesheet, including the owner, the principal, a teacher and a caretaker of the school under Section 21 of POCSO Act and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Police said summons would now be issued to all the accused after the court took cognizance of the chargesheet. Dwarka News

City Spidey spoke to the mother of the victim. She lashed out, saying, “The school needs to answer how such an incident happened. Why weren’t there two teachers on duty? Why did the teacher in charge leave the responsibility of the class on an ayah [help]? And how could the management remain silent on this lapse? Why did they not remove the principal and the teachers? They are still in denial, and defiant!”

The incident happened in November. when the 4-year-old boy had allegedly inserted a pencil into the private parts of his classmate.

Delhi-NCR in the grip of dense fog, again

People of Delhi-NCR today woke up to dense fog, with the minimum temperature hovering around 9°C. Visibility dropped to below 100 m, severely impacting vehicular movement.

In Noida, low visibility on the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) expressway made driving hazardous. Delhi News

According to an official of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), visibility at 8 am was 50 m.

“In Delhi-NCR, the maximum temperature was recorded at 23°C and the minimum at 5°C,” an official of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Dense fog, cold wave and ground frost are likely to cover parts of north-west India in the next three days, confirmed the MET department.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 320; PM 2.5 was recorded at 296; and PM 10 was recorded at 220 at Amity School in Sector 125, Noida.

Delhi police commissioner stresses on community policing for 2018

Addressing the annual press conference of Delhi Police at the convention hall of New Delhi Municipal Council yesterday, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik emphasised on making community policing more effective and organised in 2018.

Dwarka notably has a good history of community policing, with several schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, Prahari, Police Mitra, Buddy Patrolling  — all introduced last year — doing well.  The sub-city has a rich culture of RWAs participating in such social initiatives.

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The commissioner stressed on the need to strengthen policing at the grassroots level. Involvement of RWAs and security guards with the local police will be one of the prime focus areas in 2018, he added.

He also said sharpening response to distress call will be looked into as well.

Besides community policing, he also spoke on the subject of digital policing and making beat officers more tech savvy.

The CP also mentioned the success of cycle patrolling and neighbourhood watch scheme, introduced last year. All these initiatives have been greatly successful in the sub-city, where RWAs and managing committees of societies have lent an active hand.