After viral reports of ‘tax on cat and dogs’ in Punjab, govt drops plan

A draft notification was indeed prepared by the department on September 29, but dept backtracks after reports of ‘cats and dogs tax’ went viral

punjab Updated: Oct 25, 2017 10:59 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
cats and dogs tax,pet tax,tax on pets
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu (HT File Photo)

Hours after internet was set alight by reports that the Punjab government imposed a tax on keeping domesticated animals such as dogs, cats and horses, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday evening announced that it was only a proposal.

A draft notification was indeed prepared by the department on September 29 for the Punjab Municipal Corporation and Municipal (Registration, Proper Control, and Compensation to the Victims of Animal Attack) Byelaws 2017, under which annual registration fee of Rs 250 to 500 was proposed along with clauses to compensate victims if the animals attacked, it is learnt. It came with intervention of the Punjab and Haryana high court on a petition that sought to check the dog menace.

The draft was sent to all local bodies for implementation within two weeks.

“Without a formal notification, we cannot charge a fresh tax from the people. It’s all rumour that some ‘cats and dogs tax’ is being imposed,” Sidhu told HT. He said his opponents were trying to make issues out of nothing: “A lie said repeatedly can’t become truth.” He added that there’s a proposal to give compensation of up to Rs 1 lakh to victims of animal attacks.

Before that, as the reports went viral, Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema had commented, “It is sad the Congress government is away from ground realities.”

A local bodies department official later said, “It is good that we have the time for course correction. The proposal was made but has been dumped now.”Department officials now say the proposal for registration and getting licences for pets will be made mandatory even if no tax is imposed.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 18:37 IST