Protests silenced as Mayor says ‘Property Tax only after discussion with stakeholders’

Congress Councillor Rajni Bala staging a sit-in during General House Meeting of JMC on Saturday.
Congress Councillor Rajni Bala staging a sit-in during General House Meeting of JMC on Saturday.

Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, Mar 6: Contrary to the expectations, the General House Meeting (GHM) of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) here today observed no protest over the much talked Property Tax as at the very start of the session Mayor Chander Mohan Gupta announced that no such tax is going to be levied.

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It is pertinent to mention here that the much talked Property Tax in Municipal areas of the newly formed Union Territory of J&K has received wide condemnations and resentments from almost all the quarters here and almost all the Councillors of JMC had prepared to protest over this in the GHM today.
Still the GHM of today witnessed protest by a Congress Councillor and verbal fight between BJP members.
However, almost all the Councillors expressed concern over the Property Tax and said that public is not prepared for that as the recent crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic is still not over.
BJP Councillor of Ward 12, Jeet Angral while speaking in the House said Property Tax should not be implemented in J&K because savings of the people here have already reduced due to COVID pandemic and such a tax at this stage will only increase hardships of the people.
He also talked about the demand of 20 feet road from Government Girls Hr. Sec. School to Shahid Bhagat Singh Park in Krishna Nagar, resolution for which was passed in one of the earlier GHMs but the work is still awaited.
Gurmeet Kour Randhawa, BJP Councillor said the JMC has many other sources like earnings from advertisements on hoardings etc from which it can generate a lot of revenue and there is no need of going for Property Tax.
Pawan Singh, another BJP member raised a question objecting imposition of Property Tax.
Sobat Ali, Independent Councillor of newly created Ward 74 raised the issue of lack of development in the newly created Wards and said that such Wards need more funds as compared to the already existing Wards.
He also said that there is unwarranted delay in tendering process for the works approved by the Corporation.
Meanwhile, Rajni Bala, Congress Councillor of Ward 60 staged a sit-in inside the House in protest against the delay of developmental works already in her Ward.
“Many works in my Ward have been delayed for months together and I want to know why this delay is happening,” she said and was joined by Congress members like Bhanu Mahajan, Gorav Chopra, Chowdhary Dwarka Nath, Ritu Chowdhary and others.
At this, many BJP Councillors also expressed similar resentment against useless delay in execution of works for which even resolutions have been passed in the General House Meetings of JMC.
In the meantime, there was verbal fight between Rajinder Sharma and Surinder Chowdhary-both BJP members over the issue of payment to autos engaged for door-to-door garbage collection.
When contacted JMC Mayor, Chander Mohan Gupta said that Property Tax implementation has been deferred as of now.
“First we will make opinions involving all the stakeholders and other concerned persons in this regard and then some decision will be taken,” he informed.
He said that in today’s session they decided to make almost all the services of JMC online.
“Fourteen services like No Objection Certificates, Birth Certificates, building permissions etc will be made online to bring in a system on paperless business,” Gupta said adding that even the Engineering Wing of JMC will be made online.
He further informed that as of now about 70,000 street lights have been given to different Wards of JMC and 35,000 more have been sanctioned now.
On newly formed Wards, he said that even villages have been added to JMC but grants were not given for that and demanded Rs. 500 crore grants to make proper developments in all the Wards of JMC.
The Mayor also said that about Rs. 1000 crore grant is needed for developing Nallahs of Jammu city to prevent losses of life and property during floods in rainy season.
The House assembled for its business today at 11 am and continued till 5 pm and mostly took questions while the resolutions will be taken on Monday during a half day session. However, journalists were not allowed to cover the proceedings of today’s GHM on pretext of COVID pandemic.