No tax hike in industrial areas

BJP-run MCDs decide against proposed increase in election year

With Assembly elections drawing near, the deliberative wing of the BJP-ruled municipal corporations on Wednesday decided to withdraw the increase in house tax against properties which are running as industrial units.

While a proposal to that effect was passed by the standing committee of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations would follow suit over the next two days.

The three corporations had provided for increased property tax against properties in several industrial areas across the city from 10 to 20 per cent in the budgetary proposal for the financial year 2013-14.

While the North Corporation had already started collecting tax as per the new rates, BJP leaders said they are withdrawing the tax as “the increase in house tax of industrial units was done due to confusion in interpretation of the nature of non-residential properties”.

“While passing the budgetary proposals, it was the guiding principle of the party that the residents would not be burdedned by levying any new tax or increasing tax rates,” said Ramkishan Singhal, chairman, standing committee, North Corporation. 

“However, due to some confusion on part of the executive wing while clearing the schedule of taxes, the category of the industrial units was changed that led to the increase in tax rates. Now, tax would be levied at the previous rate of 10 per cent,” said Singhal.

Singhal further said that the corporation would return the extra tax accrued from the property owners.

“Around Rs 1 crore has been recovered as tax from properties in industrial areas. We would adjust them while tax assessment during the next fiscal. Some of the tax amount would also be adjusted while scrutiny of the tax returns filed by the property owners,” he said.

There are over 30 industrial areas in the limits of North Corporation, housing thousands of properties.

While the BJP leaders said the tax was increased due to ‘confusion’, sources in the corporation said the decision has been taken under pressure from the buinessmen lobby.

“The buisness community has been the traditional voter of the party. The party did not want to face their ire in the assembly elections,” said a BJP councillor.

Opposition leaders in North Corporation accused the ruling party of double speak.
“While clearing the budget proposals, they said they woud not burden the residents. But they increased the tax rates. Now they are making it appear as if the executive wing cleared the schedule of taxes without consulting with the deliberative wing,” said leader of opposition in North Corporation, Mukesh Goel. “If that is the case, that means they signed the papers without going through them,” added Goel.

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