With the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation House set to meet after 10 months on Saturday, the councillors have started making their views on taxes clear and a distinction is visible across party lines.
The Congress has decided to oppose any kind of new taxes, while the SAD-BJP councillors are opposing the streetlight tax that, incidentally, is included in the proposed agenda of the house meeting. If this tax is implemented, residents will have to pay around Rs 200 per year.
The imposition of other taxes that can be discussed on the agenda are proposals to introduce beautification tax (on hotels), streetlights and other levies.
“Our councillors will oppose all new taxes as it will be a great burden on public. With no House meeting being held for a long time, officials wanted to introduce new taxes without taking any advice,” said spokesperson for Congress councillors, Parminder Mehta.
BJP councillor Inder Agarwal said, “My party’s councillors have opposed streetlight tax during the
all-party meeting on Thursday evening. However, I think that there is nothing wrong, if beautification tax is collected.”
Another councillor said, “The MC pays around Rs 50 crore as electricity charges for streetlights every year. We, however, have no resources to raise this amount. It is better, if the government provides free of cost electricity for streetlights as then there is no need for a tax.”
SAD councillor Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal, “There is a dire need to generate revenue for the MC, as its income is the same as compared to the previous years, but the expenditure is increasing. The expenditure on construction of roads doubled over previous years. We oppose the streetlight tax, however.”
Local resident Inderjit Singh said, “If the MC provides improved services, then we have no problem paying the taxes. However, service rarely matches promise. Councillors should raise matters related to the public. The MC can also collect large amount from violators as fine.” MC commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agarwal will also attend the meeting.
Increase in honorarium of councillors’s on cards
Though the MC has been staring at a financial crunch for some time, sources said Saturday’s meeting could see an 50% increase in honorarium for each councillor from Rs 12,000 now to Rs 18,000 a month. This demand has been raised by the lawmakers for some time now.