Government to levy property tax after Urban Local Bodies polls

‘Elected Municipal Corporations Will Pass Resolution To This Effect’


Srinagar, Mar 12: Common man in Jammu and Kashmir shall have to bear fresh financial strain as the state government is all set to impose property tax in Srinagar and Jammu cities after upcoming polls to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Curiously, the proposal to slap tax on properties in urban areas has been revived even as a similar move was put under cold storage in the wake of public furor in 2011.
While 1.87 lakh residential dwelling units fall within the limits of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), the number of households and population is less in Jammu city. About 1.06 lakh houses lie within the jurisdiction of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) with 4.90 lakh souls while SMC caters to 11.75 lakh souls in Srinagar city.
An official document in possession of Greater Kashmir reveals that the government has already devised the strategy to slap tax on properties falling under the jurisdiction of Srinagar and Jammu Municipal Corporations. Interestingly, this time the government would get the resolutions affecting implementation of property tax regime in Srinagar and Jammu cities cleared through the Corporations after ULB polls.
A copy of minutes of the meeting convened to review the status of institutional reforms mandated under urban development sector held on 04.10.2012, presided by the Principal Secretary Planning & Development Department makes it explicitly clear that the government has made up its mind to impose property tax in both the cities.
“The elections to Municipal Corporations are likely to take place in near future. After the elections, the process of imposition of property tax can progress further by way of passing a resolution to this effect by the respective Municipal Corporations,” the document reveals.
Even the document lays bare that the draft rules for levying the property tax in both the Corporations are under process of approval. “Draft Rules have already been framed and are under process of approval,” it further reads.
Besides, Principal Secretary Planning & Development Department, the meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development Department and Commissioner Secretary Public Health Engineering Department. Chairman J&K State Pollution Control Board, Chief Executive Officer Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency, Director Safeguards & Institutional Reforms ERA, Director Central ERA and Director Planning Centrally Sponsored Schemes were also present in the meeting.
While majority of officials who were part of the meeting refused to comment on the matter, Minister for Planning and Development Ajay Sadhotra and Minister for Urban Development Department Nawang Rigzin Jora were not available for comment despite repeated attempts by this reporter.
Elections to Municipal Corporations, Committees and Councils in Jammu and Kashmir were due in January-February 2010 as all ULBs ceased to exist from the first week of March 2010.  But the polls were delayed, on one pretext or other, for over three years now.
Pertinently, in 2011, Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly passed the Bills to slap tax on residential and commercial properties in urban areas including twin capitals of the state despite stiff disagreement and walkout by the “united opposition”.
As per the Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly, 10 percent tax was to be levied on all commercial properties and 4 percent on residential properties falling within the municipal limits of Srinagar and Jammu. However, land area up to 10 marlas and residential construction thereon are exempted from the tax. The commercial properties in Municipal Councils would be charged up to 7 percent while residential properties up to maximum of 3 percent.
However, following stiff opposition from stakeholders, including political parties and traders, the Legislative Council referred the bills to Joint Select Committee of both the Houses.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST

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