By : Mohan Verma
Himachal Kissan Sabha (HKS) out rightly rejected imposition of property tax in merged area and criticized the unilateral action of the government. In a press note issued by HKS state president Dr. Kuldeep Singh Tanwar said that the government decision is anti people. Imposition of the tax will adversely affect the local residents living here from generations. The rights of the local people have already been curtailed after bringing the area under MC.
In the merged area people are still practicing agriculture and animal rearing and they are being deprived of the benefits of schemes like MNREGA, and subsidies on fertilizers, seeds and pesticides etc. Even to repair their ancestral houses and cowsheds they have to approach town and country planning and municipal corporation.
They are not permitted to cut their trees on their own land, even they are challaned while cutting wood for cremation.
Justification for rejecting property tax :
· In the merged area there is nothing in the name of facilities like drinking water, sewerage, public toilets and sweepers etc.
· Firstly the area was merged in the MC without consultation of the residents and now the administration is thrusting burden of taxes on residents.
· The administration does not recognized the houses as legal construction then how can administration ask for the taxes
· Government has withdrawn the grant for the merged area which has affected development works in this area.
Dr. Tanwar further said that government has brought out retention policy 6 times but its benefits has been availed by few influential and politically connected people and near and dears of the person in the administration who have constructed buildings after purchasing land from the local people at very low prices and the common people came to know about the policy when its time has expired.
Many people are still compelled to pay water and electricity charges at commercial rate due to non regularization of constructions.
Dr. Tanwar accused both Congress and BJP government and their councilors in the MC for playing duel play with the wishes of the people. Those who support the tax policy in the house are shedding crocodile tears outside in support of the people.
It may be recorded that proposal to impose tax on merged area was proposed by the finance and planning committee in the special budget session of the MC held on 28 February 2009.
At that time all the councilors excluding CPIM had passed this proposal and submitted to government, thereafter the then BJP government and opposition Congress MLA’s passed it in Vidhan Sabha and forwarded to the Governor for the signature.
The merged area still lacks in basic amenities but the government is bent upon to impose sec. 86 & 88 of the HP MC amendment at 2011 on the merged area without undertaking development work which does not justify the imposition of the property tax.
Dr. Tanwar cautioned the government to withdraw the decision otherwise people will be forced to resort to agitational path.
The merged area should be excluded from the MC in the interest of the inhabitants.