M A I N   N E W S

SAD, BJP on collision course over CLU fee
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Anil JoshiChandigarh, August 5
The coalition partners in Punjab - SAD and BJP - are heading for another confrontation, this time over the Change in Land Use (CLU) fee.

The Department of Local Government headed by BJP minister Anil Joshi decided to exempt hospitals, industries and hotels within the municipal limits from the Change of Land Use (CLU) fee without taking Finance Department or the Chief Minister’s Office into confidence.

Parminder DhindsaPunjab Finance Minister Parminder Dhindsa expressed surprise after Joshi confirmed the decision this afternoon. Dhindsa said he was surprised as he, being the Finance Minister, was not kept in the loop. He said: “Such decisions need the Cabinet’s approval. It has to be a collective decision of both the parties. “I fail to understand under what compulsions the Local Government Department took this decision,” said Dhindsa.

The state Finance Minister, who was in Delhi, told The Tribune over phone that any decision concerning revenue had to be routed through the Finance Department. “The ministries or departments can take decisions which don’t affect the revenue collection in the treasury. The process adopted by the Local Government Department was not right. Politics is one think, but when it comes to the state, we need to take collective decisions,” he said.

The BJP and the Akalis were on a collision course over the withdrawal of an amendment regarding input tax credit and bringing changes in the property tax levied on urban residents.

Anil Joshi, who had openly taken on the government over demands of the trading community, said the decision on the CLU fee had been taken to accelerate growth. The CLU fee is 5 per cent of collector rate.

He said the ministry was empowered to take the decision and there was no need for the Cabinet’s nod. Joshi said his ministry was autonomous, but discussions at various levels had taken place. “The issue was raised in the Assembly several times. We have to provide the business community the right environment for growth.” Department sources said the decision was taken as the state was facing an acute resource generation crunch. They said development in the state had come to a standstill.

The department has also reduced rates of external development charges, licence fee and CLU charges for housing and group housing schemes by 50 per cent of the existing rates. There would be no changes in the fee for multiplexes, marriage palaces, petrol pumps, multi-media centres, societies, godowns and warehouses. The decision would be implemented after byelections in Talwandi Sabo and Patiala.

Cold war continues

  • The Department of Local Government headed by BJP minister Anil Joshi exempts hospitals, industries and hotels within municipal limits of CLU fee
  • State Finance Department, CM’s office not taken into confidence. FM Parminder Dhindsa says the decision needs Cabinet’s nod
  • Joshi says his department is autonomous, no need for anybody’s approval.





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