Members of the House Tax Assessment Committee of the Municipal Corporation on Friday outright rejected imposition of the house tax and also decided not to revise the property tax.
At the same time, the committee members said they will be helpless in case the UT administration imposes the house tax, as it had done in 2004 when it had imposed the property tax after setting aside the unanimous decision of the MC house. The committee members say they will oppose any such move tooth and nail.
The MC has been evading the issue of imposition of the house tax for the past five years.
Addressing media persons on Friday, committee chairperson Sat Parkash Aggarwal said after discussions with the committee members, it was decided that there is no need to impose the house tax. "Still if the UT administration goes ahead with the move, we will oppose it tooth and nail as the city is already getting surplus funds and house tax will put an extra burden on residents," he said.
"Since Haryana has already imposed the house tax and Punjab is ready to follow suit, we will also consider it in near future, but as of now we are not imposing the house tax in Chandigarh," Aggarwal said.
MP Kohli, vice-president of the panel, said, "Since the committee has limited powers and in case the administration imposes the tax, we will urge union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal to intervene in the matter." The UT administration had directed the MC to impose house tax, failing which a huge amount of central funds for several projects will not be provided to the corporation.
In several letters to the MC, the administration had stated that the house tax should be imposed under Section 19 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976. It added that the house tax would generate more revenue for MC departments and the latter would not have to depend on grants sanctioned by the administration. In 2007, the MC had signed a memorandum of understanding with the union ministry of urban development under the Jawaharlal National Urban Renewal Mission and said it will impose the house tax to raise funds.
Deputy mayor Satish Kainth said, "In 2004, when the UT administration imposed the property tax, they assured us of 50% of matching grant. However, till date they have not paid us the amount, which is to tune of Rs 44 crore. We will make sure that in coming days, we get the said grant also."
Mayor Raj Bala Malik said the house has already rejected the agenda during its meeting last month. "There should be no question of imposition of house tax. We have already informed the administration that we are not in favour of imposing it. Now, if the administration imposes the tax, it will only burden city residents."