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ASI gets notice to pay Rs 1.9 crore & Rs 1.5 lakh as water, property tax on Taj Mahal

The Agra Municipal Corporation has also served a notice for over Rs 5 crore on the Agra Fort. ASI has been told to clear the outstanding dues within 15 days.

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New Delhi: In a first, the Agra Municipal Corporation (AMC) has served three notices to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), asking it to pay Rs 1.9 crore as water tax and Rs 1.5 lakh as property tax on the Taj Mahal, as well as over Rs 5 crore on the Agra Fort.

ASI has been told to clear the outstanding dues within 15 days, after which the monument will be termed “attached” and civic authorities will be able to exert greater control.

ASI officials, however, think it may be an error on the part of the civic body authorities.

“Property tax is not applicable on monuments. We are also not liable to pay taxes for water as there is no commercial use of it. Water is used to maintain greenery within the premises. Notices related to water and property tax for Taj Mahal have been received for the first time. It could have been sent by mistake,” Raj Kumar Patel, ASI’s superintendent archaeologist, has been quoted as saying.

Regarding the notice for Agra Fort, Patel told NDTV that ASI has told AMC “the concerned government act exempts monuments”.

Reports say that an investigation into how the notices were issued is underway. Officials also said a private company, on contract with the government, was processing the notices.

Meanwhile, Agra Municipal Commissioner Nikhil T Funde told The Times of India that he was not aware of the tax-related proceedings on the Taj Mahal.

Based on a new geographic information survey system, conducted for tax purposes, all premises, including government buildings and religious sites have been issued notices for pending dues. Rebate is provided following due process of law. In the case of notices issued to ASI, action will be taken on the basis of their response, said Funde.

ASI officials also said that since the Taj Mahal was declared a protected monument in 1920, no water or property tax was levied on the ivory mausoleum.

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