The thorny issue of House Tax continues to vex the Municipal Corporation. The Union Government takes a carrot-and-stick approach – it says “Impose House Tax and we will give you grants and more grants.” The city electorate also takes a carrot-and-stick approach. It says “Resist House Tax and we will return you to power in the next election.”
House Tax Committee Chairman Satprakash Aggrawal remarked that political parties and MC councilors are desperate to find a way to get all carrots and no sticks but no one has come up with any such choo-mantar so far.
Aggarwal said that it is better if the MC imposes House Tax. According to him, if the Administration imposes House Tax then even the poorest person will have to pay. In contrast, if the MC imposed House Tax they would tax only dwellings built on five marlas or more. He said that the MC would not touch houses of less than five marla.
Aggarwal’s plan sounds good until one remembers that the only dwellings in Chandigarh built on less than 5 marlas are those built within the engulfed villages such as Burail, Attawa, Badheri and so on. As for houses in slums, the residents of these houses could not be taxed anyway because they do not own the land on which their dwellings are built. Property owners are taxed, not tenants or squatters.
Akali councilor Harjinder Kaur deplored what she called the “political game” behind the House Tax issue. She said that politics had crippled the MC and made it incapable of doing any proper work.
Harjinder Kaur declared that she was opposed to House Tax on the grounds that the MC did not need to raise revenue from that source and if it did so, people would surely ask what great development work the MC was doing in return for all the money it collects.Obviously, the House Tax tangle is not going to be resolved painlessly or quickly.
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