The SAD-BJP government has decided to reconstitute a special committee to review property tax in Punjab.
A decision to this effect was taken after joint consultations held on the issue between deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and local bodies minister Anil Joshi. The issue was earlier also taken up for discussion at the party platform.
Revealing this, an official spokesman said the committee would also examine the rate tariff for rented, self-occupied and commercial areas besides reviewing the collector rate in various districts of Punjab.
The spokesman said feedback taken from the field would be the benchmark for the entire review exercise. He said the effective date for implementation of the revised tariffs would also be decided by the committee.
Reacting to the development, a senior leader of the BJP said the corrective step taken by the government was too late as the parliamentary elections are round the corner. "There are some irritants since the beginning when the property tax was imposed and those issues were never cleared. Most important issue is that of collector rate, which was never clarified," adds the leader.
In the meeting of the coordination committee of the ruling SAD-BJP coalition, which met on January 20, the BJP demanded time-bound rationalisation of collector rates so as to streamline the system determining property tax.
State BJP president Kamal Sharma had at that time conveyed this to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who chaired the meeting. In December last year, the BJP had conveyed to the government that at a large number of locations in urban areas, there was no clarity on collector rates, so the property tax could not be calculated.
"The local bodies department, which collects the property tax, has extended the last date for payment of the tax till March 31. We took quick decision as the department is head by a BJP minister, whereas issue of collector rate pertains to the revenue department, which is headed by a SAD minister," a BJP leader pointed out.