After getting feedback from the resident s of Bathinda, Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala over the property tax, local bodies principal secretary Ashok Gupta on Wednesday held a meeting to interact with the Jalandhar residents to get their suggestions on the issue.
The anger of the people against the imposition of the tax was palpable in the meeting which was attended by office bearers of different societies, organisations and industrial unions from Jalandhar and nearby towns. Jalandhar deputy commissioner Varun Roojam, chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Pawan Kumar Tinu and mayor Sunil Jyoti were also present.
While showing their anger against the new tax, the representatives of various bodies demanded its abolition as promised by BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is now the finance minister, during the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. Jaitley, who had fought the elections from Amritsar, had assured the electorate that property tax will be abolished if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comes to power at the Centre.
Industrialists and Traders Joint Action Committee members Ravindra Dhir and Gursharan Singh said that if the BJP government now fails to fulfill the promise, they would “see the results within two years in assembly elections”.
Dhir said, “The Punjab government has spread the wrong notion that the property tax is quite less as compared to the earlier house tax but the reality is that the house tax was much higher than the property tax”, Dhir said.
Re presentatives of dif f erent welfare societies urged the gover nment to minimise the collectorate rates which go on increasing with time.
“The government should fix the nominal price per acre for every land instead of charges according to collector rate” they suggested.
Charanjit Singh Mehngi, representing Jalandhar Trade and Iindustry, said the Punjab government had imposed property tax higher than that of Haryana and Gurgaon.
“If the government will continue imposing taxes on industries, the small scale industries will soon close their units”, he said.
Representatives from the palace association and the petrol pump association suggested that tax should be imposed only on the built-up areas as they have to reserve more open space than the edifice.
They said that they even have to pay higher property tax as the collector rates on highways are almost double as compares to inner areas of the city.
A re presentative from the Rice Sheller Union, Sultanpur, said that the rice mills are paying property tax per feet which is almost impossible t o pay. Even CPS Pawan Kumar Tinu admitted t hat the SAD-BJP paid heavily in the Lok Sabha polls due to impostion of property tax.
Ashok Gupta said that suggestions of the participants will be conveyed to the chief minister soon and they will take a favourable decision in this regard.
Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam said that the collector rates will be rationalised and “something good is likely to come out soon”.