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By Express News Service

KOCHI:  The local fund audit report of the Kochi Corporation revealed there were serious lapses by the civic body in tax collection in various sectors which have resulted in heavy financial loss. The report says that lapses were also found in some of the key departments and services offered by the corporation including accounts, asset register, water supply, waste management, town planning and road works.

As per the report, the Corporation’s inefficiency in tax collection has affected the revenue generation of the civic body. “ It has also made inordinate delay in implementing various projects which have resulted in the lapse of funds. These include externally funded projects like Solar City project and schemes under AMRUT. There is also a marginal difference between income and expenditure indicated in the annual budget and the actual data,” the report said. It also showed an additional amount was allocated for pre-monsoon cleaning works, violating the guidelines.

In the report, it pointed out the Corporation had to collect `8.25 crore as property tax and `2.54 crore as default tax during 2017-18. However, it failed in tax collection and in properly documenting the collected amount. “The Corporation also failed in collecting employment tax, advertisement tax, various license fees, service charges and rent of the buildings that it owns,” the report showed.

Differences in actual amount and amount collected as property tax, a sharp decrease in collecting building permit fee and irregularities in issuing licenses to hospitals were also discrepancies that were pointed out. It also revealed that certain buildings were rented out by violating norms and a proper lease register is not maintained by the civic body.

The report also blamed the Corporation for its poor financial management that has resulted in availing loans frequently to meet financial requirements. It also signalled many shops and establishments in the city are functioning without Dangerous and Offensive (D&O) license.

What the Audit Report reveals
◆ The Corporation incurred heavy revenue loss because of the lapses in collecting building tax
◆ Non-completion of Land Tax Assessment Register has resulted in financial loss
◆ The Audit Report reveals there are 111 illegal mobile towers in the city
◆ Some of the receipt books were missing from the Corporation
◆ There are flaws in collecting rent of the buildings owned by the corporation
◆ Financial liability due to issues in the contract for solid waste removal.
◆ Several paramedical institutions are functioning in the city without a license
◆ H17.2 lakh has been spent to construct toilets in houses of private individuals.

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