The non-imposition of House Tax in Chandigarh is likely to have an impact on the ongoing projects in the city if the Centre,which had sought its imposition in return for funds,decides to stall the grants. Among the projects that would have to bear the brunt are some flagship projects of the UT Administration. Even as the Administration has been sending repeated reminders to the Municipal Corporation,political parties are of the view that alternate sources of revenue generation need to be looked into instead of the imposition of new taxes.
There are several projects in the city that are using grants from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. Among these is the flagship project for construction of tenements under the slum rehabilitation project. While around 12,500 tenements have been constructed,an equal number is yet to come up. Buses have been procured by Chandigarh Transport Undertaking under the scheme. A proposal for additional buses is also pending.
Apart from these,several projects of the Municipal Corporation are under the scheme. These include automation of water supply and the providing of tertiary treated water. While these are nearing completion,the projects of the Administration are still under way. The MC proposal for Augmentation of Water Supply Scheme through Kajauli water works is yet to receive approval.
An agreement was signed by the Administration and Municipal Corporation with the Centre before the projects under the JNNURM were initiated. As per the agreement signed in 2006,House Tax was required to be imposed in the city. There is,however,a reluctance among the political parties over the imposition of the tax.
This,despite the imposition of the tax being viewed as a source of income for the Municipal Corporation. At present,the civic body earns revenue through water bills,property tax on commercial establishments,paid parking and interest on the fixed deposits among other things. The grant,that is to be received from the UT Administration,is less than what is required.
An official of the civic body says that in case tax is not imposed,in the coming years,the MC would not have sufficient funds for undertaking work under the plan head. The Administration has been sending repeated reminders for imposition of the tax.
The councillors,however,have a different view. The members of the House Tax committee opine that there is a need for proper system of collection of the property tax that is already imposed. While around Rs 19 crore is supposed to be collected as property tax,there are many defaulters. A fresh survey would also be conducted to ensure that all the commercial establishments are being covered, says Sat Prakash Aggarwal the chairman of the House Tax committee.
The BJP,meanwhile,has condemned the proposal for imposition of tax. The issue was raised in the meeting of the partys core committee on Tuesday. BJP councillor Devesh Moudgil said that imposition of House Tax would be a breach of trust on the part of the Congress as the poll manifestoes of all parties stated that no new tax would be imposed. The MoU,inked with the Centre,was signed by a Congress Mayor without taking the people of the city into confidence. Since the local MP is of the Congress,he should seek additional grants from the Central government. If tax is imposed it would be an utter failure of the Congress, Moudgil said.