Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mobile collection vehicle turns MC staff into family counsellors

While the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has tried to be innovative by launching mobile collection of property tax, actually the move has turned MC employees into family counsellors who are mostly being called by elderly people in the city.

When the MC team reaches their home, the elderly start discussing their family problems with them. In turn the employees too try their best to help them and give suitable advice.

Among the 17 who have called the van and paid tax is former vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University M S Aulakh, according to MC sources.

\"Most of the people just call and enquire but show no interest in calling the vehicle and pay tax. In some cases, they call us but when we reach there, they change their mind and say they need more time to think,\" said Harmeet Singh, an MC employee.

What has surprised MC employees is that how elderly people who call them readily discuss their family problems with them and seek solutions. \"In most cases, we have been called by elderly above 80 years of age. They are highly depressed because of misbehaviour by their children and other family issues. They ask us for advice and seek solutions. They just open up to lighten their hearts and we listen patiently. They pay tax as well,\" said Singh, adding that \"we try to give them the best advice we can\".

\"They start asking us how to get their homes free from erring sons, tenants and how their son misbehaves with them and threatens to throw them out of home. All we can do is listen,\" said another MC employee.

The vehicle was launched on October 3 with the helpline number 97800-10452. So far, it has visited only 25 houses and collected Rs 29,000 as property tax.

The response, as per the MC, is quite low compared to what was expected before launching the vehicle. \"There is no problem with our service but people are opting for online return filing and thus less number of people are calling this vehicle,\" said P S Ghuman, zonal commissioner B, heading the property tax department.
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