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KARACHI: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) is learnt to have been dragging its feet over payment of around Rs650 million municipal utility charges and taxes to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), thus adding to the latter’s financial woes.

Informed sources told Dawn that an amount of Rs649.6m was outstanding against the residents and commercial/industrial consumers within the jurisdiction of the KPT.

They said the KPT and KPT House owed Rs185m and Rs96m respectively to the KMC as municipal utility charges for the period from 2009 to Dec 2016.

The other consumers of the KPT included Pakistan National Shipping Corporation building (Rs31.5m), Beach Luxury Hotel (Rs11.6m), Dinshaw Byram Avari (Rs26m), Hilton Hotel/Avari Tower (Rs26m), Institute of Bankers (Rs800,000), Port Grand (Rs3.1m), PRC Tower (Rs21.5m), Bahria Complex-I (Rs29m), Bahria Complex-II (Rs29m), Bahria Complex-III (Rs30m), Bahria College (Rs15m), Bahria Security System (Rs8m), Premier Residency (Rs16m) and Lalazar Society (Rs86m).

‘Payment of dues if determined would be made after approval by competent authorities’

They said the then City District Government Karachi (CDGK) had in 2008 introduced the municipal service charges in replacement of fire tax and conservancy charges for the maintenance and development of municipal services from Jan 2009.

The sources said that the then CDGK through a council resolution implemented the imposition of municipal utility charges.

They recalled that earlier the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board was authorised to collect the conservancy charges in its bills and the recovered amount was transferred to the KMC account.

However, the sources said the KPT did not pay a single penny despite repeated requests made by the municipal utility.

They said the KMC had last year taken up the matter of outstanding dues with the KPT and it was decided in a meeting between the mayor and the KPT chairman that the KPT would pay the dues of municipal utility charges and taxes out of receipt it had in their account.

The sources said the KMC wrote to the KPT on July 17, 2017 asking it to pay the outstanding dues, but to no avail.

They said that the KPT told the KMC that it was examining the matter “carefully” and “on merit” and “payment of dues if determined would be made after approval by competent authorities”.

Later, the sources said, the KMC also approached the minister for port and shipping and sought his intervention to resolve the matter.

They said that fate of the outstanding dues still hangs in the balance due to the lethargic attitude of the KPT authorities.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2018