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Cong accuses BJP of unleashing ‘tax terrorism’ in UT

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Apni Party welcomes LG’s assurance on property tax

Jammu/Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Congress on Monday staged a protest against the Centre’s decision to impose property tax in the union territory and demanded its immediate rollback and dismantling of toll plazas to end “tax terrorism”.

The Union home ministry had recently empowered the union territory administration to impose the property tax following an amendment to the J&K Municipal Act, 2000 and J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 through the J&K Reorganization (Adaption of state laws) order, 2020.

The property tax will be levied on all lands and buildings or vacant lands or both that fall within the jurisdiction of civic body areas unless exempted under this act or any other law.

“The BJP is anti-people and has unleashed tax terrorism in J&K through amendments in various laws after revoking the special status and bifurcating the erstwhile J&K into two union territories on August 05 last year,” chief spokesperson of Pradesh Congress Committee Ravinder Sharma said.

A large number of Congress activists led by senior vice-president Raman Bhalla staged the protest demonstration outside the party headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk in the heart of Jammu. However, their attempt to take out a rally was scuttled by police who were deployed in strength and had barricaded the main road.

“Congress will not remain a mute spectator to the anti-people policies of the BJP-led government. The BJP is anti-farmers, anti-youth and has unleashed the tax terrorism by setting up more toll plazas in Jammu region and cleared the way for imposition of the property tax,” Sharma said.

He said his party demands rollback of the “anti-people” decisions and immediate restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and holding of assembly elections.

Meanwhile, Apni Party on Monday welcomed Lt. Governor’s assurance given in his speech at Baramulla that no property tax would be levied by UT administration in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, Javid Baig, former legislator and spokesman of Apni Party said that the remarks have allayed the mounting apprehensions among the people of J&K.

“Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari had already raised this critical issue with the top leadership in the country and sought its intervention,” he added.

Baig observed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are reeling under tremendous economic distress and levying property tax would have added to their fiscal burden.

“Need of the hour is that the people in J&K should be provided with special stimulus packages by the union government covering all important financial sectors in view of the situation that emerged here after August 2019. The prevailing pandemic has also hugely impacted J&K’s economic conditions,” Baig remarked.

The Apni Party spokesman also welcomed the LG’s announcement that the J&K government is mulling to enhance the honorarium of Panchayat representatives in coming days.

“The Panchayat representatives are an important part of a grassroots level democratic set up.  Enhancing their honorarium would enable them to perform their duties in a better manner,” Baig observed.

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