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: 264 dwellings inaugurated in Sairam Nagar & Gandhi Nagar – ET RealEstate

HYDERABAD: Houses built under the state government’s dignity housing project were handed over to beneficiaries. On Friday 264 dwellings in Sairam Nagar and Gandhi Nagar were inaugurated, both areas are located in Secunderabad Cantonment Board(SCB).

Out of the total houses, 200 houses located in Gandhinagar were built with Rs 15.50 crore and Sairam nagar Rs 4.96 crore.

In Gandhi Nagar 200 two bhk houses are spread across seven blocks, each block is a G+ 3 structure. In Sriram Nagar the 64 houses are spread across four blocks and in this locality too each block is a three storied building.

Each unit measures 560 sft and construction cost per house is Rs 7.75 lakh, the dwellings are equipped with basic amenities like underground drainage system and power supply.

The houses were inaugurated by home minister Mahmood Ali , animal husbandry minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav and labour minister Malla Reddy also participated in the inaugural ceremony.

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Secunderabad: Old grant bungalows to pay commercial property tax – ET RealEstate

SECUNDERABAD: Owners of old grant bungalows (OGBs) located in the Secunderabad Cantonment, will soon be issued notices with a huge hike in property tax assessment.

The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) officials completed an assessment of 86 old grant bungalows (OGBs) of the British-era as part of the triennial revision, i.e. between 2018 and 2022.

“Notices will be served to all the owners of these bungalows in a day or two. They will be given 30 days to submit objections,” Secunderabad Cantonment Board deputy chief executive officer, Vijaykumar Balan Nair told STOI.

Though, the defence estates office, Telangana circle is a custodian of old grant bungalows, the SCB has been collecting property tax for decades, he said.

Agreeing that most of the OGBs are using their open spaces for commercial purpose, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board official said that the tax department made an assessment solely based on the commercial tariff. The range per square meter is between Rs 4 and Rs 10, added the official.

Most of the old grant bungalows are located in Sikh Village while few are in Balamrai, Bowenpally and other prime areas.

Several old grant bungalows have given their open spaces to function halls, furniture showrooms, car showrooms. They collect rent in lakhs.

The rent of a function hall starts from Rs 1.5 lakh and goes up to Rs 10 lakh per day.

On an average, the owners of these old grant bungalows earn Rs 2 to Rs 10 crore per annum only on rentals.

Secunderabad Cantonment Board officials who set their eyes on old grant bungalows are expecting huge revenue through the triennial revision assessment.

“We are expecting nearly Rs 3 crore revenue,” said SCB senior tax official.

Agreeing that most of the OGBs are using their open spaces for commercial purpose, the SCB official said tax department made assessment solely based on the commercial tariff

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