Sharmili Mallick

Puri: The Puri Municipality has issued notices to several business establishments as well as individuals over pending holding tax amounting to over Rs 1 crore. Among the prominent defaulters are Puri Srimandir Management Committee, BSNL, several hotels, lodging, restaurants and other religious institutions, official sources said.

As per reports, the Shree Jagannath Temple Management Committee owes a huge amount of tax to Puri Municipality since years but the concerned authorities have turned blind eyes towards it.

One Hotel Sonali, figured in the list of tax defaulters, has Rs 11 lakh pending against it on its two plots since last nine years. Though the Municipality’s Enforcement Officer fixed the notice with the deadline for the payment in front of the hotel's wall, it is nowhere visible now. Besides, the owner of Hotel Sonali too dilly-dallying the payment issue.

The Executive Officer of Puri Municipality Girish Nayak said, “Initially, we have targeted the big defaulters and issued them notice to pay the dues within seven days. If the defaulters do not pay the taxes within the stipulated date, legal action will be taken against them.”

Similarly, Sea Gull, Renuka Bhawan, E 24 Hospital and Emara Matha owes a total of Rs 7,87,640 to the Municipality and this has triggered resentment among the stakeholders and locals.

“It is unfortunate that Srimandir owe such a huge amount to Puri Municipality. The municipality is a public organisation and without paying its tax, if we complain that the body is not executing its duty well, is saddening,”said a member of Srimandir Coordination Committee, Ramachandra Das Mohapatra.

A resident of Puri, Suryanarayan Rath said, “This is just an excuse. Actually, there is a nexus between the concerned officers and the organisations. Therefore, the organisations are ignoring paying crore of tax.”

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