|Issue will be discussed at all-party meeting before taking a decision: Mayor|
— Photo: V. Ganesan
DEBATE on: Mayor M. Subramanian, Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni and councillors at the Council meeting held in Ripon Building on Tuesday
Chennai: Should private educational institutions be asked to pay property tax?
This was the question hotly debated at the Chennai Corporation Council meeting on Tuesday, but the matter was deferred for another day.
Mayor M. Subramanian introduced the subject but the resolution was not adopted as some councillors raised objections. The Mayor said the issue would be discussed at an all-party meeting before any decision was made. At present, private schools and colleges and the hostels attached to them do not pay property tax.
The Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act states that educational institutions are exempt from paying property tax since April 1994. However, several councillors said that private educational institutions were being run with a commercial motive and collected high fees and ‘donations.’
According to estimates, the Corporation was losing out on revenue of at least Rs. 25 lakh every half year due to the exemption.
Councillor Jayakala Prabhakar said, “If private schools wanted to be exempted from property tax, they should charge fees similar to the government schools.” However, councillor S. Mangalraj said that all private schools did not demand excessive fees or donations. Many of them continued to function on the principle of service to society, he said.
Except for the resolution on property tax, the Council adopted all other resolutions tabled at the meeting. Mr. Subramanian said the Corporation would buy small compactor trucks to clear garbage in narrow lanes.
“At present, 60 compactor trucks are operated in zones where garbage collection is managed by the Corporation. However, these trucks cannot enter narrow lanes. The Corporation will purchase 40 small compactor trucks,” he said.
The Council also adopted a resolution to request the State government to hand over the management of 74 bus route roads – currently with the Highways Department – to the local body. A resolution seeking the State’s approval for land acquisition for road widening projects was also adopted.
PMK councillor T. Sathiyamoorthi said the flyover built by the Corporation on Usman Road at the Panagal Park junction failed to address congestion. The Mayor said that vehicles were able to move faster because of the bridge.
The Usman Road flyover and the flyover at Mahalingapuram junction proved useful in saving a young girl’s life. Hospital authorities with the assistance of police were able to transport the heart of a youngster, A.P. Hithendran, who was declared brain dead, in less than 12 minutes from Apollo Speciality Hospital on Anna Salai to Frontier Lifeline in Mogappair for the transplant, Mr. Subramanian said.
Earlier in the day, two DMK councillors, who won the recent local body by-elections, were sworn in by the Mayor. Councillor N. Krishnan will represent ward 18 (Royapuram) and P. Natarajan will represent ward 44 (Perumal Koil Garden near Sowcarpet).
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