Rising above party loyalties and bickering for once, the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh has rejected any upward revision of house tax in the city. The decision was taken at the MC House meeting on Friday.
Putting to rest any questions on the legality of the decision, councillors quoted from the Punjab Municipal Act (as extended to UT Chandigarh) to back their decision. The relevant sections quoted were Sections 90 (1) (2) (3) (4) and 5, 91 9 1), 93, 96, 97 (1).
“Even as the administration threatened us and tried to force us to increase the house tax 10-fold, the Act clearly says that we have no power to revise rates. Only a new tax can be imposed, ” nominated councillor MP Kohli said.
BJP councillor Arun Sood said, “When the house tax was imposed last year, we were assured that the MC will be getting huge grants, but have not received even as single penny. Why has the UT administration not formed the metropolitan council till date. We are rejecting this revision as we have already imposed it last year.”
Councillors open front against Patil
At the meeting, councillors also lashed out at the UT administration for pinning the blame of the non-implementation of the recommendations of the Delhi Finance Commission, when it (the administration) was to look after the issue.
Lashing out at UT administrator Shivraj V Patil, BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said, “We do not need such a weak administrator and he should go back now.” SAD-BJP councillor Harjinder Kaur said it was unfortunate that the Delhi Finance Commission had been critical of the MC.
“The MC does good work even as the UT administration is just collecting taxes.” Former mayor Subhash Chawla said, “It is hard to understand the logic for the UT asking us to revise the tax when there is no need for it and the municipal corporation is financially strong. The Act does not allow an increase. Even the previous tax was forced after the administration forced our hand.”