ASI asked to pay water & property tax on Taj Mahal by Agra Municipal Corporation

AGRA: The Agra Municipal Corporation in Uttar Pradesh has sent 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, a protected monument.

The bills are for the financial year 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The ASI has been asked to clear the outstanding dues within 15 days, failing which the property (Taj Mahal) would be ‘attached’ if the tax was not cleared within the stipulated time.

Municipal commissioner Nikhil T. Funde, said, “I am not aware about the tax-related proceedings related to the Taj Mahal. Fresh notices are being issued based on the statewide geographic information system (GIS) survey conducted for the calculation of taxes. All premises, including government buildings and religious sites, have been issued notices based on dues pending on them. Rebate is provided following due process of law. In the case of notices issued to the ASI, required action will be taken on the basis of response received from them.”

ASI superintending archaeologist Raj Kumar Patel meanwhile, said, “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.”

Assistant municipal commissioner and in-charge of the Tajganj zone, Sarita Singh, said, “The matter related to notices issued for water and property tax on the Taj Mahal is being investigated. A private company has been tasked to realise tax on the basis of a GIS survey.”

ASI officials said that the Taj Mahal had been declared a protected monument in 1920 and that even during the British regime, no house or water tax had been levied on the monument.