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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Illegal colonies: Soni asks BJP to exit coalition govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 19, 2013
First Published: 20:28 IST(19/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:31 IST(19/7/2013)

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) vice- president OP Soni on Friday asked the BJP to exit the coalition government if its leaders did not have the courage to speak out against the recent policy to regularise illegal colonies after extracting hefty amounts from colonisers across the state.

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Soni, an MLA from Amritsar Central and incharge of party affairs in Majha, was addressing colonisers from the districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran at his residence here.

He wondered why the government remained silent all these years and even allowed municipal corporations and committees to grant concessions to private colonies, which now were being termed illegal. "If these colonies were illegal, then how did some of these get electricity connections?" he asked while seeking an answer from the government.

Soni pointed out that the government coffers were empty due to its wrong economic policies. Now to fill up its coffers, the SAD-BJP government had imposed a 'jazia' (tax) not only on the colonisers but also the owners of houses in such colonies, he alleged.

Questioning the decision of the SAD-BJP government to form a panel to review this decision, the Congress leader said that the state government should have followed the UPA regime which withdrew the property tax decision after a delegation of the PPCC met certain union ministers.

Meanwhile, a delegation of local colonisers also met industries minister Anil Joshi to demand withdrawal of the decision. Joshi assured them that the government was reconsidering this matter.

Soni criticises e-Trip scheme

Criticising the re-introduction of the e-TRIP (Transportation Information within Punjab) scheme, Soni felt that it would have an adverse effect on trade and business in Punjab.

In a statement, he said that the scheme would hit those dealing in cotton, mustard, iron and steel, yarn, vegetable oil and plywood. The scheme was withdrawn earlier as it applied to all goods but now in a rather calculated move to divide the business community, the government has limited the scheme to six commodities, he claimed.

Under the scheme, any trader selling these goods within the state would have to submit detailed information on the website of the excise and taxation department before the physical movement of these goods. However transactions below Rs. 50,000 would be exempted.

"The government is mercilessly punishing traders and businessmen and at the same time snatching the livelihood of many more. The industry is already in the doldrums and now trade too will be hit," added Soni while calling for withdrawing this scheme.

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