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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 14:15 GMT
Drumming tax sense into evaders
By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad

Tax evaders in a southern Indian city are having cash beaten out of them - by troupes of drummers.

Authorities in the city of Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh state are sending drummers around to create a noise outside homes until evaders cough up.

Officials say they recouped 200,000 rupees ($4,600) on the first day.

Harried residents emerged from their homes to be told by accompanying tax collectors to pay up or continue facing the music.

Embarrassment

Rajahmundry, about 500km (300 miles) east of state capital Hyderabad, is a major city in the state's East Godavari district.

Municipal commissioner of Rajahmundry city, TSR Anjaneyulu, told the BBC he had to resort to the unusual method as all other efforts to recover the tax had failed.

The commissioner said dues had risen to up to 50m rupees.

The municipal corporation hired the service of 10 drummers and sent them to 10 different residential and commercial areas on Friday morning, along with a tax collector and other officials.

Mr Anjaneyulu said that during the campaign the drummers would not say anything but would beat the drums non-stop outside houses pointed out by the officials.

He said he was confident people would pay up to avoid embarrassment as everybody now knew that the drums meant there was a tax evader inside.

In addition to the 200,000 rupee first-day revenue, many more people had come forward with a promise to pay up in a few days, Mr Anjaneyulu said.

Before the campaign, the authorities had compiled and published a list of evaders, with sums ranging from 1,000 rupees to 100,000.

Mr Anjaneyulu said the cash was needed to improve the city's growth, adding that in the past three years infrastructure had improved considerably.


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