Jammu: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Saturday stated that J&K people's interests were being given precedence while framing laws and the doors of administration were always open for dialogue on these issues but not for “politicking.”
LG Sinha was speaking to the media after his visit to review the Tawi Riverfront project site here. The project envisages to reduce erosion and flood and to provide socio-cultural amenities for sustainable development of the city.
“On the issue of property tax, I've even earlier stated that due care and caution have been taken to safeguard the interests of J&K people,” he said, while replying to media queries about “Jammu Bandh” observed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu in protest against imposition of Property tax on the pretext that it (imposition) was ill-timed.
“Broadly speaking, if I draw a comparison then in the first instance, (we find) no tax will be there in rural areas. Secondly, the rate of tax (in J&K even in urban areas) is less than one-tenth of (tax) rate enforced in Ambala, Shimla and Dehradun. In urban areas also (in J&K), no tax has been imposed on 40 percent of people. Almost an equal number of people (40 percent) will pay a maximum of Rs 1000 per annum,” the Lieutenant Governor substantiated his point with statistics.
He said that even in the case of commercial properties, there were only 101000 properties. “Out of which, 46,000 properties will come under tax slab of around Rs 700 per annum while in case of 36,000 (commercial) properties, a maximum of Rs 2000 tax would have to be paid annually. In Jammu, even a rehri owner in Jammu pays Rs 5000 per annum,” he stated.
“To protect the interests of the common man of J&K is the major concern and the top most priority of our administration. We have issued a toll free number and have sought suggestions from the people. If the people have certain valuable suggestions to offer to simplify or improve it (process), it will be welcome. In case there is a scope to facilitate the people on any account, we'll definitely go for it. There will be no hitch. People are wise and they understand the situation,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
“(Our) Doors are always open for dialogue. However, I don't think there is scope for politicking on these issues,” LG Sinha asserted.
He, however, refused to comment on the agenda of the all parties' meeting which was convened later in the day and chaired by Dr Farooq Abdullah to discuss property tax and JKSSB controversy besides other issues confronting J&K.
“I don't comment on political issues,” was his terse reply.
With regard to queries about his inspectional visit, he said the progress on all the projects visited today was satisfactory.
“The aspirations of the people of Jammu would be fulfilled soon. These projects will boost the Tourism in Jammu and the footfall of tourists from outside will increase the economic activities and income of the people,” the Lieutenant Governor said.
When his comment was sought on the agitation by few youth against JKSSB for hiring Aptech to conduct exams, LG Sinha remarked that it would amount to influencing the decision of the court as the matter was sub-judice.
“I believe that to comment or give a reaction on the issue, which is under the consideration of the court and it (court) has announced a verdict also yesterday, amounts to interfering or to influence the decision. And this is not permissible under the Constitution of India,” he said.