BENGALURU: A cash-strapped Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) owes the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) property tax worth Rs 22.86 crore which has been pending since the financial year 2016-2017, revealed a response to an RTI query.
“BMTC has paid taxes worth Rs 20 crore only for six buildings in the year 2016-2017. The authorities have to pay the pending sum of Rs 22.86 crores for the remaining buildings,” the document stated.
BMTC has to pay the tax every year for the buildings they use as TTMCs, bus depots, three workshops, one training institute and one medical dispensary. Recently, The New Sunday Express highlighted that the corporation has provident fund dues worth Rs 269 crore to its employees. Last year, BMTC requested a waiver for property tax which was not approved in the budget.
“In the year 2017-2018, they waived the Motor Vehicle Tax worth Rs 120 crore annually. However, they did not do so in subsequent years. We have been asking that it be restarted as we need financial assistance. We suffered a loss of Rs 340 crore approximately in the last year,” said a BMTC official.
“The government owes us Rs 200 crore for the subsidy we give students. They deduct the Motor Vehicles Tax (MVT) from this and generally give us only the remaining Rs 80 crore. We have asked for full subsidy to be given along with MVT exemption several times,” the official added.
For the corporation, paying the property tax to the Palike is not as pressing a need as paying the pending dues to its employees which are more urgent. “PF, gratuity to retirees, medical expenses and contributions to BMTC Employees Consumers Co-Operative Society have not been paid by the corporation. Earlier, we used to get salaries by the 5th of every month. But, since 2018, it has been delayed to the 9th or 10th,” said Yogeesh, a driver and conductor.
When contacted regarding the waiver of both property and MV tax, Transport Minister Laxman Savadi only said, “The matter is still being discussed in the Finance department.”