Taxing times in Secunderabad cantonment areas, claim property owners – ET RealEstate

SECUNDERABAD: Life in Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) limits has become quite taxing, claim property owners worried over rising taxes.

The SCB’s revised tax plans for 2022 fiscal, which is likely to include a steep rise, is already giving sleepless nights to property owners. This year alone the SCB has collected about Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore in property taxes, an SCB official said.

“If as taxpayers we question the Cantonment Board officials on infrastructure development, they chant ‘no funds’ mantra,” B Dileep Reddy, a resident of Dhanalakshmi Colony in Bowenpally told TOI, adding that unlike GHMC, the SCB has failed to use taxpayers’ money to improve civic amenities.

For some, selling their properties and shifting to GHMC areas seems to be a better idea unless there was a merger between the two bodies to bring uniformity in taxes for residents in the twin cities.

Commercially, the SCB area has grown rapidly on a par with GHMC, but many tenants have been spooked by rising rents as property owners deftly passed their higher tax burden on to them.
Taxing times in Secunderabad cantonment areas, claim property ownersWhen TOI spoke to a few commercial property owners in Trimulgherry, Bowenpally, Karkhana, Picket and Marredpally, the common refrain for raising rent was ever increasing tax burden. Covid-19 has now multiplied their financial woes. “There has been no business due to Covid-19 pandemic. But taxes are still high. So, we raised the rents,” a property owner admitted.

The old tenants are the once feeling the pinch most as their low rents have skyrocketed. “A steep hike in property tax every year has led to owners raising rents. They are not sparing even long-time tenants,” said B Chakradhar, a grocer running his business from a rented premise for more than two decades in Trimulgherry.

As per official SCB records, there are over 36,000 properties now paying taxes, while there are close to 15,000 illegal properties (not on records) missing from the tax net. “People in the tax wing have been minting money. It can’t be ended unless there is a merger,” BVSS Srinivasa Rao, a resident of Greenview Enclave, claimed.



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With no town planning, Secunderabad cantonment board fails to push back squatters – ET RealEstate

HYDERABAD: Of the many civic issues that residents of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB)-controlled areas claim to be reeling under, land encroachments is among the most pressing. This, owing to the lack of a town planning department, they say.

In the absence of such a wing — unlike the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation — there is no dedicated team to check illegal constructions or encroachments in the cantonment area. Even complaints to the SCB often go unnoticed due to this gap, residents said.

A look at SCB’s official records show that there are about 10,000 properties built on encroached land within Cantonment limits. Topping the charts is Rasoolpura followed by Mudfort, Bowenpally and Trimulgherry.

According to officials and locals, majority of these encroachments are on open nalas, footpaths and open lands — mostly occupied by vendors. In a recent drive, the SCB engineering wing removed nearly about 30 to 40 encroachments from Vasavi Nagar behind Karkhana old police station, but residents say that it’s not enough.

“The problem is way more widespread. But unfortunately, there is no accurate assessment of properties standing on encroached land. Recently, the SCB decided to levy property tax on such buildings, to improve its revenue, but that is unlikely to resolve the bigger problem that arises from this illegality — disappearing nalas. Most of these encroachments have either come up on nalas and open land parcels. The latter could have been used to develop infrastructure of the area,” said Moses Prasad, a resident of Bowenpally.
With no town planning, Secunderabad cantonment board fails to push back squattersActivists allege that though the issue has become so severe, SCB officials have been turning a blind eye to it despite repeated complaints. “They have no plan to set up a separate town planning wing since it is not mentioned in the Cantonment Act. In the absence of that, there is a designated department available to address complaints or monitor such illegalities. There is also a lot of corruption while collecting taxes as there is no competent authority to keep a watch,” claimed Chandrasekhar Sankaran of the Open Secunderabad Cantonment Area Roads (OSCAR) group and resident of Alwal.

Due to the lack of a town planning department, many also said that Cantonment residents have to depend on the principal director, defence estates for final approval of building plans — making it a cumbersome procedure. In comparison, within GHMC, it is the town planning department’s chief or the municipal commissioner who is the competent authority. The process is also faster, residents claim.

“We do not know what the procedure will be if the merger happens but as of now, we have identified a few encroachments and demolished them. In some cases, we have given them notices. Pertaining to building permissions, the applicants should fill up the forms and get NOC from the airport authorities before the application is referred to the board. The entire application process is still manual in SCB,” said Gopal Krishna, SCB engineer.



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Secunderabad: 168 houses allotted to beneficiaries of Katta Maisamma Silver Compound – ET RealEstate

HYDERABAD: As many as 168 houses, under the Double Room Housing Scheme, were allotted to the beneficiaries of Katta Maisamma Silver Compound in Secunderabad Cantonment constituency by Telangana government on Thursday.

Under the scheme, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) took up the construction of 224 housing units in Katta Maisamma Silver Compound at an estimated cost of Rs 1,763 lakh.

Among the total houses, 168 houses, that were ready to occupy, have been allotted.

The housing society is built on a land parcel measuring 2.15 acres with 224 houses spread across 8 blocks (G+3 pattern), with a plinth area of 560 sft.

The cost of each dwelling unit worked out to Rs 7.90 lakh apart from Rs 0.75 lakh as cost of infrastructure for each unit.

The inaugural function was attended by several elected representatives including the minister for animal husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Talasani Srinivas Yadav, home minister Mohd Mahmood Ali, labour minister Ch Malla Reddy and the Secunderabad Cantonment MLA G Sayanna.



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Hyderabad civic body to acquire 260 properties for storm water drains development – ET RealEstate

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HYDERABAD: Initiating steps to prevent flooding of low-lying areas, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has decided to acquire 260 properties by paying compensation of over Rs 80 crore towards development of storm water drains in the city.

In an effort to fix the city’s drainage system, GHMC’s Strategic Nala Development Programme (SNDP) was rolled out in November 2020 post the floods that created havoc in the city. The SNDP wing is responsible for developing and maintaining storm water drain/nala system in the city.

Though 260 properties with a combined extent of 23,000 square yards have been listed for acquisition through the legal route, GHMC is making efforts to acquire properties through negotiations under GHMC Act. “While some packages are currently under procurement stage, the removal of encroachments is being monitored by zonal commissioners. After land acquisition, the nala widening or reconstruction works will take off after October,” SNDP chief engineer Dr C Vasantha said.

Those who had settled on government land over 10 years ago were being paid compensation at the prevailing market rates. However, encroachments shorter than 10 years were being removed immediately, official sources said.



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