Millennium Post

Soon, New Town to become municipality

Kolkata: New Town will soon become a full fledged municipality with the population increasing by leaps and bounds.

"The tax collection and other civic amenities in New Town is presently looked after by the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA). The population in New Town is growing at a very fast pace as this place has seen development like no other modern city in the country. New Town will not continue to be under a development authority for long. It will become a municipality as soon as the population rises," state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim said while presenting the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (Second Amendment) Bill 2018 in the state Assembly on Monday.

He added that New Town still does not have the population to achieve the status of a municipality. It may be mentioned that presently the population under the NKDA is 37,000.

An area can come under a municipality when the population is over 40,000 or more. In case of municipal corporation, the population has to be 5 lakh and above.

The minister said that the NKDA was created in 2007 during the Left Front regime and the necessary nod of the President was taken to empower this development authority in regards to levy and collect taxes.

The minister's reply came after Congress MLA Sukhbilas Verma opposed the Bill alleging that the Constitution does not empower a development authority to levy and collect taxes. The Bill was, however, passed in the Assembly.

Elaborating on the amended Bill, the minister said the government has extended the period of self-assessment and payment of property tax and interest (if any) by a period of 60 days on humanitarian grounds.

"A penalty of 30 percent was levied on late payment of property taxes. However, we have already introduced Unit Area Assessment (UAA) in New Town and people are taking some time to get accustomed to the new system. We have created help desks and taken all possible measures to assist them in self assessment and payment under the UAA. Now, we have decided to extend the time by 60 days to ensure that people do not have to cough up the penalty," a senior NKDA official said.

As per provisions of the Amendment, the Bill will be deemed to have come into force with effect from June 3, 2018.

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