Property tax collected from elderly couple’s pension

The elderly couple from whom the tax was collected> Photo: By Arrangement

Kumram Bheem Asifabad: A Panchayat Raj secretary drew flak for reportedly collecting property tax from the monthly pension of a hapless elderly couple, beneficiaries of Asara Pension Scheme. His act was brought to the notice of Telangana Chief Minister’s Office through a Facebook user. He, however, was asked to repay the amount by higher officials.

The public servant, Narnineni Sunil had allegedly deducted the property tax Rs 500 from Pangidi Cheekati, a tribal and beneficiary of Asara Scheme from Karjavelli village in Chintalamanepalli mandal on March 25. He was rebuked on the social networking site for collecting the amount from the couple who were residing in a hut using logs.

Property tax receipt

When asked, District Panchayat Raj Officer Sangam Gandhar Goud, told Telangana Today that he had spoken to the secretary and instructed him to waive off the tax, considering the weak financial background of the tribal couple.

“Sunil had collected Rs 500 from the family towards arrears of their property tax pending for 10 years. However, I told him to return Rs 475 after charging Rs 25 per annum,” he informed.

The DPO further stated that he would take steps to avoid occurrence of similar incidents in future and expressed unhappiness over the secretary’s deed. “I was pained to learn about the incident. He should not have imposed the tax on the poor family and caused trouble to the pair. It will not be repeated in the days to come,” he added.

Speaking to this newspaper, Sunil stated that he had deducted the amount as the tribal had arrears of Rs 1,300 from 2008 to 2018 and in order to the achieve the target of 100 per cent property tax collection in Karjavelli village. He said he was unaware of the plight of the family. He claimed that he had returned Rs 300 the same day, but it was not recorded.

Sudheer Jalagam, a Facebook user and member of TRS party, posted the plight of the tribal man following extraction of the property tax by Sunil. He tagged CMO, Housing Minister Allola Indrakaran Reddy and Nizamabad MP Kalvakuntla Kavita while exposing the secretary’s act. The post went viral on the social media. It was shared by 55 users till Wednesday.

He recalled that he came to know about the incident during in a padayatra taken up in Karjavelli village by P Harish Rao, the son of former Sirpur (T) MLA P Purshottam Rao recently.