Lack of clear rules brings townships, gram panchayats at loggerheads

The lack of clear directives and ambiguity in the present laws have triggered a war of words between the special townships and the gram panchayats.

While gram panchayats claim the right to levy taxes on townships, the latter refuses to recognize the legal right of the local bodies to do so.

In the latest stand-off, Keshavnagar gram panchayat deputy sarpanch Rupesh Tupe had taken on Amonora Corporation for allegedly not paying taxes to the local body.

Tupe had taken the matter to the Block Development Officer of Haveli, who had fined the township."The township has come up on the land falling under the gram panchayat and we are entitled to gather taxes from them, he said. However, the township refused to pay the taxes and appealed against the order to the Rural Development Ministry.

Another stand-off in the making is that between the gram panchayat of Hinjewadi and that of the special township there. Hinjewadi sarpanch Sagar Pakhre hinted at taking legal action against the Blue Ridge township.

"As a local body, we hold the right to levy and collect taxes on all constructions within our limits. Since the time the township has come up, they have not paid taxes," he said. Pakhre stated that they have carried out correspondence with the township, but the latter refused to comply, stating that as they do not take any facilities from the local body, they are not liable to be taxed by them. He also hinted that the gram panchayat members would be resorting to road blockage and agitation if the township does not pay them legal taxes.

Citing the example of Hinjewadi IT Park and MIDC, Pakhre said that although both the bodies do not avail any facilities of the gram panchayat, they pay taxes to it.

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