Saturday, July 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Popular outrage over house tax move
Bandhs in Haryana towns
From K.G. Dutt
Tribune News Service

PEHOWA, July 7 — This historic town of the Vedic age observed a complete hartal today in protest against the proposed house tax by the Haryana Government. Not a single shop in the entire town was seen open. Pilgrims coming to this town from all over the country in order to offer ‘pinds’ in memory of their deceased kin were put to great inconvenience as they could not get essential items of food and fruit required during the worship of their ancestors.

The Sangharsh Samiti led by Congress leaders Madan Lal Dua and Balbir Singh Saini along with hundreds of citizens burnt the forms distributed by the local Municipal Committee to get information on houses.

Leaders of political parties cutting across party lines condemned the “anti-urban” policy of the INLD government.

The leaders in their speeches alleged that since coming into power, the Om Prakash Chautala government had been following a policy which went against the interests of urban citizens. The house tax policy would give a crushing blow to the economy of the middle income group, the salaried class, small shopkeepers and even rehariwalas who owned small dwellings in cities.

The members of the Sangharsh Samiti presented a memorandum to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

It declared it would resort to a traffic jam on the Hisar-Chandigarh national highway next week if the government did not withdraw the tax move by then. The Sangharsh Samiti further declared that its members would show black flags to the Chief Minister, during his proposed visit to Pehowa on July 17.

Besides, the citizens would hold dharnas and demonstrations.

The district administration had deployed a strong contingent of the state police so as to maintain peace in the town. The members of the Sangharsh Samiti alleged that the Deputy Commissioner of Kurukshetra was indirectly putting pressure on councillors to toe the line of the government.

The entire Ladwa town observed a strike on Thursday leaving new Grain Market areas. The INLD members were conspicuous by their absence from the protest march which was held through the bazaars of the town.

Our Correspondent adds from Kurukshetra: In response to a call given by the Kurukshetra Action Committee at its meeting here on Wednesday, a bandh was observed here today in protest against the Haryana Government’s proposed house tax, fire tax and professional tax. The bandh was complete.

Those who addressed the gathering were BJP leaders Krishan Bajaj, Rattan Lal Bansal and Fateh Chand Gandhi, Dr Ram Parkash, former Haryana minister, Mr Sahab Singh Saini, former MLA, Mr Dina Nath Arora, district president, Congress Vichaar Vibhaag, Mr Om Parkash Sharma, SJP district president, Mr Laxmi Kant Sharma, district president, Congress Sawa Dal, Mr Abnasi Lal Arora, former district president and Kiryana Merchants Association, Kurukshetra.

The Action Committee submitted a memorandum to Mr Narhari Singh Bangar, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, saying the move to impose house tax was totally partial, faulty, unjustified and anti-people and reflected the anti-urban attitude of the Chautala government.

The memorandum said the imposition of the proposed fire tax was not under the jurisdiction of the state government as the Haryana Government had already been charging fire tax under the Haryana Explosive (Dangers) by Laws from shopkeepers in the state.

The Action Committee further demanded that the houseowners who had not rented any portion of their houses should be exempted from the house tax.


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