The verbal duel between coalition partners, the SAD and the BJP, over local bodies minister Anil Joshi’s claims to exempt industry, hospitals and hotels from the change of land use (CLU) fee has also created differences within the BJP with former local bodies minister and Jalandhar central MLA Manoranjan Kalia claiming that a notification in this regard was issued in 2009.
After Joshi announced exemption from the CLU on Tuesday and took credit for it, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday hit out at the local bodies minister, claiming that a notification to exempt industry, hospitals and hotels from the CLU was already issued in 2009.
Asked by HT to clear the air on the issue, Kalia, the local bodies and industries minister in 2009, stood by Sukhbir’s statement, saying, “A notification to exempt hotels and hospitals was issued in 2009. The uproar over the issue is uncalled for. I can only confirm this and don’t want to join the controversy.”
Kalia’s stand is a setback to Joshi who, on Tuesday, had claimed that he had started the process to exempt hospitals and hotels from the CLU fee.
Reacting to this, Sukhbir had expressed surprise at the way Joshi had raised the issue.
Meanwhile, Joshi questioned Kalia’s statement, saying the former minister must clarify why the notification was not implemented in letter and spirit.
“I respect Kalia as a senior party colleague. He was the local bodies minister when the notification was issued in 2009. He remained minister till 2011, so he owes an explanation as to why the department failed to implement the notification,” said Joshi.
He said the notification was not implemented because of a few technicalities.
“If after four years, I have taken the initiative to implement it, I fail to understand why it is worrying some people. If I have taken the lead to implement the notification, it will only improve our government’s image among businessmen who are suffering heavy losses. Sukhbir and Kalia, instead of showing concern at my initiative, should acknowledge my sincerity,” Joshi said.
A press release by the government on Wednesday claimed to have done away with the CLU in 2009, on the recommendation of the Sukhbir-Kalia committee when both Sukhbir as the deputy chief minister and Kalia as the local bodies minister, had advocated doing away with levying of CLU charges for industry.