Imposition of property tax in the city from April next would not only ensure extra income for the Ludhiana municipal corporation but also put an end to political pressure on civic body officials by local politicians while taking up assessments.
Officials of the house tax wing of the MC who assess properties in the city for levy of tax at present allege pressure from MLAs, councillors and other local leaders to favour their supporters and kith and kin. This pressure ensured that targets fixed for assessment of the house tax were not met, officials claimed.
However, once property tax was imposed, residents would be required to carry out self-assessment of properties for the purpose of levy of property tax, which would leave no space for political interference in the working of the MC. Owners would be liable to punishment in case they did not assess the property tax properly.
A top MC official, who wished not to be named, said that officials of the house tax wing faced pressure several times in the past when they went to assess the buildings in the city. MC officials had to bow before this pressure as leaders allegedly threatened the officials of dire consequences in case they did not do their bidding.
“Pressure comes from politicians whenever their personal interests are involved,” remarked the official.
He claimed that officials were sometimes forced by unscrupulous politicians not to assess certain properties in the city. “It has happened many times that politicians called up the superintendent and inspectors of the house tax wing, asking them not to assess or to show a lesser amount as house tax during assessment,” the official alleged.
A superintendent of one of the four zones of the MC said that he had been threatened several times by politicians who asked him not to assess some particular properties in the city.
“Many politicians ask me not to assess the properties of their near and dear ones and also those properties in which they have a personal interest,” remarked the officials.
Past political interference in MC working
On November 22 morning, the MC carried out a demolition drive in Chaowni Mohalla along the GT Road amid protests by local leader Vijay Danav, chairman of Dalit Vikas Board. Interestingly, the MC had suspended the anti-encroachment drive four times in the past owing to protests by area residents and leaders.
On November 22 evening, the MC team reached the Model Town Extension area near the New Krishna Mandir to remove encroachments by shopkeepers. Area councillor Manvinder Singh Makkar reached the spot and allegedly hurled abuses at the superintendent of the Tehbazari wing, Naveen Malhotra.
On November 2 last year, deputy mayor RD Sharma allegedly interfered in an anti-encroachment drive of the MC at Salem Tabri under Zone A jurisdiction in which nearly 20 illegal structures were supposed to be demolished. Sharma was accompanied by Hans Raj, a councillor of ward number 16. However, the MC continued its drive and demolished the illegal structures.