The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday opposed the imposition of wealth tax on agricultural land and termed the Centre's decision a blow to the debt-ridden peasantry.
Party secretary and spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said said the decision to impose 1% tax on the collector rate for agricultural land falling within 8km of the municipal limits would crush farmers of Punjab. As per the decision, more than 70% of the farmers of the state would have to pay this tax.
Dr Cheema said taxing farmers was an ill-conceived and harsh step by the Congress-led UPA government, which had proved to be a government of dealers working to benefit the corporate lobby.
"Instead of helping the farmers, the union government has taken a series of anti-farmer steps, including withdrawing subsidies on fertilisers, decontrolling diesel prices and running away from giving adequate MSP (minimum support price) to them for their produce. It is surprising that the government has taken another thoughtless decision, which displays its inability to understand the ground reality," the SAD spokesman added.
He also expressed concern that as per collector rates in the state, farmers would to pay tax many times more than their annual income from their land.
"The SAD would strongly oppose the imposition of wealth tax on the peasantry as it would ruin the farming community," said Dr Cheema, adding that the party's core committee would meet on Thursday to discuss the issue and chalk out a strategy against the "anti-farmer" move.