By:Mohan Lal Verma
The residents of merged areas around the Shimla town have categorically opposed the levying of taxes by the local administration without providing the basic civic amenities to them.
In a meeting of the “Up Nagar Jan Kalyan Samanvay Samiti” here on Monday the resident associations opposed the recent move of Municipal Corporation in which it has suggested the method of self-assessment of tax to be adopted by the merged area dwellers.
“We the village Panchayats around Shimla, have been forcibly combined with the Shimla Municipality and now levied taxes without giving any minimum public amenities” said Chandra Pal Mehta of the Samiti.
We should be again dissociated with the Municipal Corporation and be given the status of Nagar Panchayats, he demanded.
The earlier BJP government had detached the merged areas from the Municipal Corporation limits and had given a democratic right to people to elect their own civic bodies, said the Samiti activists.
The dwelling units in the merged areas have not been regularized or given water and electricity connections by the Municipal authorities so far. They are paying the commercial charges of these services to the corporation and some of them have even faced demolition for their alleged illegal constructions.
The old residents said the haphazard construction in Shimla started in early eighties when the government deliberately looked the other way and allowed chaotic construction to take place in the town peripheries without any required maps or permissions. There was no Municipal Corporation or Town and Country Planning by laws then and full political patronage was given to the outsiders who descended in large numbers here, they said.
Now the government wants to collect tax from these occupants who are not given regular water, sewerage and electricity connections complained the residents.
The Samiti that has threatened of a non-cooperation movement said the government should first regularize the structures on “as and where basis” and then levy the taxes. The Samiti Vice President Bhupendra Kanwar has demanded from all political parties to clear their stand on the issue and come forward to help the general public.