Punjab orders reassessment of property tax in Kharar

In what comes as a major relief for local property owners, the Punjab government has ordered reassessment of property tax in Kharar.

Taking cognizance of the strong opposition raised over the Municipal Council's (MC) faulty assessment to impose property tax in Kharar, Local Government Minister Manoranjan Kalia has intervened to end the three-year-old property tax row.

Referring the case to Kharar MC Executive Officer (EO), Kalia has directed the civic body to constitute a three-member committee of elected municipal councillors to record the objections over the disputed property tax assessment.

The committee would resolve the objections within a month and send the report to the minister expeditiously, the order read.

The order, a copy of which is with Newsline, directed the EO to issue an advertisement about the government's decision and invite objections of all those aggrieved over the controversial tax levy.

The development assumes significance as even though the MC House had cancelled the property tax assessment twice since March 2008 and withdrawn the levy on self-occupied property, MC authorities initiated collection of property tax in August this year, due since 2007 with penal interest.

Up in arms against what they termed as "illegal and autocratic action", residents and representatives of various social and trade organisations had threatened to launch a mass agitation against the civic body.

The recovery proceedings, which were in gross violation of the two unanimous resolutions adopted by the MC House, had also made MC acting president Roshan Lal and vice-president Jai Bhagwan Singla put their weight behind the public while categorically rejecting the tax collection.

Agreeing with the objection of the local residents, the MC House had termed the property tax assessment "wrong and faulty".

Resolving to continue with the old system of house tax on rented properties with the provision of 10-15 per cent increase on the old assessment, MC House had also recommended fresh assessment through a private technical agency.

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