Don’t tax us, use area fund, say Thangal villagers

Ever heard of a village where residents ask the panchayat president to either waive taxes – house and water tax – or get MLA/MP funds to offset the tax demand?
Representative image
Representative image

Vellore

Thangal village in Wallajahpet panchayat union was recently appreciated by Collector Baskara Pandian following panchayat president P Indira handing out pamphlets to all 350 houses (population 1,800) in the locality requesting them to pay taxes to ensure that the local body was able to provide them more facilities.
The village has 332 tap connections and needs annually Rs 2,14,200 as tax. This includes Rs 1,99,200 as water tax at the rate of Rs 600 annually and another Rs 15,000 in house taxes. What drew the attention of the district administration was that the pamphlet listed ten items which locals used daily and cost more than the Rs 1.66 per day as water tax. The listed items included chocolates (Rs 2), Power bill (Rs 4.60), coffee, tea (Rs 10), bottled water (Rs 10), water can (Rs 30 for 25 litres), mobile recharge (Rs 100), petrol (Rs 100 average), movies (Rs 200), cable TV (Rs 225) and gas cylinder (Rs 850 approximately).
Panchayat president P Indira said, “after we distributed the notices, about 20 persons have paid their tax dues, but others either demand that we waive pending tax dues or get money from the MLA/MP funds to offset the tax demand. They do not understand that village panchayats have no connection to such funds.”
Former panchayat president TC Padmanaban said, “from 2001 to 2006, the panchayat was under AIADMK rule and no taxes were collected in a bid to ensure votes. Between 2006=2011 panchayat head’s post was under the SC quota and the then incumbent pocketed whatever was collected. Then for next five years the local body was under special officers when not much interest was evinced in tax collection as it was panchayat clerks who held sway. Thus, today this village has a huge tax backlog resulting in locals having to be told to pay up.”

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