A towering loss for Kochi corporation

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The cash strapped city corporation has been suffering huge revenue loss as most of the mobile towers in the city are un-assessed and not paying tax.

Though there are nearly 800 mobile towers functioning in various parts of the city, the corporation has no idea about their location and occupancy. Over the past 10 years, the revenue loss from mobile towers alone will be around Rs 16 crore.

At the recent corporation council meeting, opposition councillor P.R. Ranish asked for a report on the exact number of mobile towers and the tax revenue collected from them so far.

Talking to Deccan Chronicle, Mr Ranish said that the Town Planning Committee has no idea about the number of towers and the corporation stands to lose a huge amount of tax revenue due from these towers.

“The annual tax fixed for a tower is Rs 10,000, along with the licence fee for the generator they use. Thus, the minimum annual tax revenue from a single tower will be not less than Rs 20, 000. If the city has 800 towers, the corporation is losing Rs 1, 60, 00000 a year,” said the councillor.

It is pointed out that given the large number of unauthorised towers in the city, it would be a tough task for the civic body to locate them and make them comply with the tax norms.

“Even when the corporation is in a deep financial crunch and planning to take loans, the revenue department officials are silent on such a huge revenue loss. They should take immediate measures to plug such loopholes in tax revenue collection,” he added.

Apart from the revenue loss, unauthorised towers erected by cellular companies on various buildings also pose a threat to the structures.

City Mobile towers under scanner

The city corporation is tightening the noose around several unauthorised mobile towers standing tall on the rooftops of several commercial and residential buildings in the city.

While protests are mounting over the negligence of the revenue department in tax-assessing the towers, the corporation now plans to take strict action against the mobile companies which have erected illegal towers in the city.

“With the new self assessment tax system in place, no structure, including mobile towers, will be exempted from its purview. Revenue inspectors have been asked to submit a detailed report on the towers, both authorised and unauthorised, in their divisions concerned. The superintendents in zonal offices will prepare a consolidated report based on the information provided by the revenue inspectors and will submit it to the revenue department,” said a top department official.

The department has already issued notices to the mobile companies asking them to comply with the norms.

“We are in the process of identifying unauthorised towers in the city. Earlier, the special revenue squads formed to identify unauthorised buildings in the city had found some un-assessed towers,” the official added.

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