With all the hassles of daily life, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has come with a respite to make the taxpayer's life simpler. For many, the cramped space inside the treasury department at the KMC headquarters has been too much of a bother to negotiate, in order to pay property tax, license fees and other such payments. So now KMC has decided to set up a citizens' service centre where taxpayers can pay all sorts of bills in air-conditioned comfort. It is going to occupy an entire floor of the five-storied structure to be constructed at the site of the long-closed Chaplin cinema in the Esplanade area, to build which a tender has been floated. The rest of the building will house some of the civic departments like the information technology, revenue and finance.
For the convenience of citizens and for the efficient functioning of tax-related work, all kinds of facilities would be provided for at the service centre, including inquiry about essential civic services, and payment of property tax, trade license and building sanction fees. A model service centre like this would enable people to pay their taxes and fees without any hassles and on time, which would lead to non-default on such payments, which is otherwise a major area of concern with respect to revenue collection.
"We have floated a tender for construction of the building for the second time. We hope to get a response soon. We want to start the construction within a couple of months," said a senior KMC official. According to the official, Bridge and Roof Co. Ltd., a government of India undertaking, has shown interest in the project.
In 2008, the Left Front-run civic board, after taking over Chaplin cinema from the state government, had planned a seven-storied building on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. But the project was put on hold after a private firm, a partner for the project, backed out. When the present TMC-run civic board took over and decided to revive the project, the hawker problem came to the fore. The hawkers on the perimeter of the hall, which stands on a 12-cottah area, took a long time to be convinced to vacate and relocate to other areas provided to them. Now that the problems have been solved, KMC officials are sure that the citizens' service centre would come up in the not-too-distant future to provide a trouble-free experience for the taxpayer.
Hawkers around Chaplin Cinema
Written by Ankita Bose for team M3.tv