Former CM’s, Political leaders oppose property tax in J&K
SMC Mayor says decision taken without approval of elected ULBs, will contest move
Jammu lawyers announces one day work suspension against imposition of property tax in JK
The political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have opposed the property tax announced by the government while the City Mayor, Junaid Azim Mattoo said that the decision was not approved by elected ULBs and thus the SMC will explore ways to contest this ‘arbitrary move’.
According to the news agency, J&K administration yesterday unveiled the rules for levy, assessment and collection of property tax in limits of municipal councils and committees. However, the former chief ministers as well as the political leaders here have expressed their resentment over the move.
National Conference (NC) Vice President, Omar Abdullah, in a tweet asked why the people in J&K will pay the state taxes including the property tax when they have no say in how the government is run and other decision making. “No Taxation Without Representation. Why should people in J&K pay state taxes including the proposed property tax when we have no say in how our government is run & no say in the decision making of J&K. We are expected to be mute spectators to all unjust decisions by Raj Bhavan,” Omer Abdullah tweeted.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti said that they will not pay the tax at all. “The economic condition in J&K is not good, but such moves are aimed to make Jammu and Kashmir further poor,” she said. She added that such moves cannot be stopped until and unless there is no resistance to these measures.
Former chief minister of J&K and Democratic Azad Party (DAP) chief, Ghulam Nabi Azad while speaking over the issues, said that he is not against the property tax, but there is a need to understand that from past over three decades, the people in J&K have suffered in every aspect due to militancy, thus leading the increase in the unemployment and also weakening the economic condition. “I can only say that the time is not apt for the move because of the economic conditions of the people here,” he said. Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman Sajjad Gani Lone said that it is not the time to impose property tax.
“Property tax in the aftermath of years lost in Covid seems determination to turn every stone that can be turned to ensure economic euthanasia. Governments have pumped billions worldwide to bump start ailing economies. In wonderment,” Lone tweeted. “The government has come up with a detailed clarification on property tax. I still say no. Not the time to tax. But to whoever came up with this rare idea of explaining the concept with humility. From an admin which is otherwise disdainfully arrogant and unambiguously detestable,” he tweeted.
Srinagar Mayor, Junaid Azim Matto while terming the move as ‘arbitrary’, said that the decision has not been approved by elected ULBs. He also said that the SMC will explore ways to contest the arbitrary move. “Imposition of Property Tax in J&K is ironically violative of municipal empowerment as this has neither been deliberated upon, nor approved by elected ULBs. While SMC will explore ways to contest this arbitrary move, I am writing to the Hon’ble LG seeking a withdrawal of the SO,” SMC Mayor tweeted.
Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Vikar Rasool Wani denounced the move and said that this is naya J&K for the BJP led government. “I strongly denounced the levying of property tax on our people who are unable to run their homes due to the high rate of inflation, immense unemployment rate and zero business activity. This is BJP lead Centre Government Amrit Kaal and LG administration Naya Jammu Kashmir,” JKPCC chief tweeted.
Senior CPI (M) leader Mohamamd Yousuf Tarigami termed the levying of property tax as ‘arbitrary and undemocratic’, saying that the process of collecting tax and deciding the values of the tax is the sole prerogative of the elected institutions—the legislature to frame laws and the municipal councils and corporations to decide the forms and different values according to their objective realities. Levying property tax in absence of an elected government is quite unconstitutional. Even the elected municipal bodies were not consulted; he said and demanded immediate withdrawal of the notification.
BJP’s J&K spokesman Altaf Thakur while speaking over the issue, said that the time is not apt for the move. “The party led by its president Ravinder Raina will approach the administration in this regard to seek their intervention,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Jammu chapter of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association on Wednesday announced a one-day suspension of work against the decision of the administration to impose property tax in the Union Territory. Bar association president M K Bhardwaj said the decision to suspend work on Thursday was taken at a meeting which was convened to discuss the “anti-people” decisions of the Lt Governor-led administration.
“We strongly condemn imposition of property tax on the people, who are reeling under financial distress owing to wrong policies of this administration. We have an anti-encroachment drive where the people in possession of land for over decades together are deprived of their land,” Bhardwaj told reporters here.
“Such important decisions should have been left for an elected government rather than by the Lt Governor administration. The government should immediately restore statehood and hold assembly elections,” Bhardwaj said.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday issued a notification for imposition of property tax in the Union Territory which will come into effect from the next financial year. Demanding immediate withdrawal of the notification, he said the bar would not hesitate in calling for a general strike against the “tax terrorism” and challenge the “anti-people” measures in the people’s court.
He claimed that the people are upset with the “wrong policies” of the administration. Democratic Azad Party Corporator Gourav Chopra also voiced his resentment against the imposition of property tax calling it a “financial burden” on people. He said the Jammu Municipal Corporation had passed a resolution in December last year against the imposition of the tax.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rajinder Sharma said the imposition of the property tax is a decision of the Lt governor administration and not of the JMC. “We have decided to convene the general house on Saturday to hear the public opinion (on the property tax) and will accordingly take up the issue with Lt Governor as well as BJP state and National presidents,” he said. Mission Statehood president Sunil Dimple also led a protest against imposition of property tax here and threatened to intensify the agitation if the notification was not immediately withdrawn.