Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Saturday said the SAD-BJP government was acting in desperation to bridge the revenue deficit and was imposing an irrational tax structure to cover up their failures.
Bajwa demanded that the hefty fee imposed on illegal colonies be rolled back saying that instead of helping the victims and penalising government officials who allowed the illegal colonies, the government was harassing the common man.
He asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal that under which rules the government department approved the layout plans of these colonies and also provided power connections to them.
Bajwa said that earlier it was the exorbitant property tax and now the government had imposed a hefty fee for regularisation of "illegal" colonies. He said the government decision of charging a fee of Rs 400 per sq ft from owners of plots in about 5,340 colonies across the state would hit nearly two lakh families.
He said corruption in the government was a major reason for mushrooming of illegal colonies. People now felt cheated and victimised by the state government, he added.
Bajwa asked Badal to show a sense of responsibility and improve the governance, eradicate corruption, check evasion of taxes and adopt austerity measures to bridge the revenue deficit. He said the policies of the SAD-BJP government were responsible for the revenue deficit of about Rs 13,000 crore.
Bajwa said the BJP was also fully responsible for the plight of the urban people who had been overburdened with taxes. He said the BJP didn't oppose imposition of property tax and their ministers kept quiet in the cabinet meeting when the decision to impose a hefty fee on illegal colonies was taken. He said it was due to the pressure built by the Congress that the state government was forced to review the property tax rates. He said the Congress would not allow the SAD-BJP government to play such a mischief time and again.
Bajwa said the SAD-BJP government was likely to impose fresh taxes of Rs 4,000 crore on people. He said the state government had mooted a proposal to impose professional tax on lawyers, doctors, private teachers and architects.
He said finance minister Parminder Dhindsa had imposed taxes of Rs 2,000 crore immediately after the "tax-free" budget for the year 2012-13 was passed by the Vidhan Sabha. He said the base rate of VAT in Punjab was already 5% against the 4% in other states and the 18% tax on diesel was the highest in the country.