Sunday, July 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

House tax formula shelved
By Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 8 — Faced with the rising wave of resentment among the people against the new formula of calculating house tax in municipal towns the Haryana Government today put the move in cold storage for at least one year.

At the same time the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, blamed the Opposition for launching a “disinformation campaign” against the State Government on the issue of house tax.

The people will definitely heave a sigh of relief over the Chief Minister’s decision to put off the new house tax formula. Many had been fearing that if house tax was assessed as per the new formula, their status from being landlords would change to that of tenants of the civic bodies. As per assessment made by a two-member committee of the BJP, which is supporting the Chautala Government from outside, house tax as calculated by the new formula would have gone up by several times of the existing tax. Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, President of the Haryana Congress, too has made similar claims.

However, Mr Chautala today dismissed the BJP and the Congress claims as “baseless and absurd propaganda”. He said the new house tax assessment formula was yet to be finalised.

Asserting that it had become imperative to conduct a fresh survey of the house tax structure because he had been receiving complaints that the assessment at present was being done arbitrarily by the employees and different rates were being charged for the similar type of houses.

Mr Chautala said a fresh survey of house tax was being conducted these days in the State with a view to rationalising the tax structure. Since this would take a lot of time, the civic bodies could charge house tax this year at the old rates.

After a meeting of senior officers of the Local Bodies Department, over which he presided, Mr Chautala also announced the constitution of a committee under the presidentship of the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Subhash Goel, to evolve the methodology for imposing house tax. It would also include presidents and vice-presidents of a few civic bodies.

He said keeping in line with his commitment to democratic norms, the norms of assessing house tax as suggested by the committee would be sent to the municipalities so as to evolve a consensus on the issue. The finance subcommittees of the civic bodies would study the norms and decide to impose house tax keeping in view local conditions.

Maintaining that it had never been any intention of the government to put unjustified burden of taxes on the people, Mr Chautala assured the masses that whatever formula be evolved by the committee, it would be fully rational and would not put any undue burden of taxes on the masses. It would also be ensured that the existing provision of not imposing house tax on newly constructed buildings for the first three years. Similarly no house tax would be imposed on vacant land adjacent to industries like rice shellers, and board mills.

House tax would also not be charged on a vacant plot in case a building is raised on it within a year. A rational formula will be evolved to determine the rate of house tax on vacant land.

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