Srinagar: A week after government of India amended two municipal laws of Jammu and Kashmir to empower administration to levy and collect property tax; Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Monday that his government will not thrust property tax on any person in the Union Territory.
“Speculations are rife that property tax will be imposed on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I am telling this gathering that UT administration will not thrust property tax on any person,” Sinha said, while addressing a gathering during “My Town My Pride” programme in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
However, the Urban Local Bodies, he said are competent to decide on such issues in consultation with the public and for the development of the ULB’s themselves.
J&K LG also refuted the rumours regarding the reduction or scrapping of the honorarium of the panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies. He said such rumours were being spread by certain vested interests, deliberately misleading elected representatives on the honorarium issue.
Sinha said that his government has initiated My Town My Pride programme with a prime agenda of empowering the Urban Local Bodies by reaching out to the urban population, with governance at their doorsteps and ensuring on spot redressal of their issues and grievances.
The two-day long programme, an initiative for the Municipal areas is being conducted in Urban Local Bodies on 19th – 20th October, during which camps for public service delivery are being set up.
LG observed that public outreach in towns, strengthening grass-root democracy, and service delivery at doorsteps are the three main objectives of the “My Town My Pride” initiative.
“This is not a programme to announce anything new, but an opportunity to discuss and derive solutions to existing needs, issues and for effective delivery of services at every doorstep,” he said.
“During these two days, many issues faced by the cities will come to light, which will thereby help create a definitive roadmap for developing a strong ecosystem for our cities, focussing on the urban-rural partnership, enhancing market and business opportunities, job creation, filling the gaps in education system and ensuring sustainable economic development of our cities,” he added.
According to an official spokesperson, LG stressed that the Urban-Rural connect is vital for the wholesome development of Jammu & Kashmir and under ‘My Town My Pride’, every Municipal Council will be given Rs 1 crore to fill gaps in ongoing works.
“Similarly, Municipal Committees will be given Rs 50 lakhs each and Rs 5 cr will be given to Municipal Corporations to fill the gaps. Some part of the amount will be used for installing street lights in the city and some for creating parking spaces,” he added.
The official spokesperson further said that the LG asked the officers to own the initiative, identify local issues and needs of the people, and serve people with accountable, responsive, and participatory governance.
“Synchronized efforts must be made for ensuring maximum saturation of social security and beneficiary-oriented schemes; besides ensuring speedy issuance of important documents, certificates; revenue services, and mobilization of funds towards developmental activities as per the needs of the local population,” LG, as per official spokesperson said.
He said that the LG also interacted with the public and sought feedback from them on the administration’s efforts in providing door-step governance to the public and on-spot redressal of their grievances, besides providing them with various services by the departments.
Cong Protests ‘Tax Terrorism’
Earlier the Jammu and Kashmir Congress on Monday staged a protest against the Centre’s decision to impose property tax in the union territory and demanded its immediate rollback and dismantling of toll plazas to end “tax terrorism”.
The Union home ministry had recently empowered the union territory administration to impose the property tax following an amendment to the J&K Municipal Act, 2000 and J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 through the J&K Reorganization (Adaption of state laws) order, 2020.
The property tax will be levied on all lands and buildings or vacant lands or both that fall within the jurisdiction of civic body areas unless exempted under this act or any other law.
“The BJP is anti-people and has unleashed tax terrorism in J&K through amendments in various laws after revoking the special status and bifurcating the erstwhile J&K into two union territories on August 5 last year,” chief spokesperson of Pradesh Congress Committee Ravinder Sharma said.
A large number of Congress activists led by senior vice president Raman Bhalla staged the protest demonstration outside the party headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk in the heart of Jammu. However, their attempt to take out a rally was scuttled by police who were deployed in strength and had barricaded the main road.
“Congress will not remain a mute spectator to the anti-people policies of the BJP-led government. The BJP is anti-farmers, anti-youth and has unleashed the tax terrorism by setting up more toll plazas in Jammu region and cleared the way for imposition of the property tax,” Sharma said.
He said his party demands rollback of the “anti-people” decisions and immediate restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and holding of assembly elections.
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