Special Punjab House session on May 3 to discuss wealth tax

A special session of Punjab Assembly will be held on May 3 to discuss the wealth tax imposed by the Centre on farmers owning land within 8-km of urban areas. The state cabinet will meet Friday to finalise the session schedule, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said after a core committee meeting of the party.

Supported by the BJP, the party planned a nation wide "lok lahar" to protest against the Centre's "repressive and anti- farmer" move to levy wealth tax. The centre's proposal is likely to get the legislative nod in Parliament on May 6.

As per the SAD, almost 85 per cent of the land in Punjab will come under the ambit of the proposed tax - one per cent of the collector's rate - that farmer will have to pay a minimum of Rs 30,000 per acre per year to upto Rs 1 lakh per acre depending on the cost of land. "This is much more than the returns that a farmer gets from his land," Badal said.

Addressing the media following the meeting CM's media adviser Harcharan Singh Bains said a delegation of all SAD-BJP MLAs and MPs led by the CM will soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and request him to roll back the proposal.

On May 2, the alliance will hold dharnas at all district headquarters in the state against wealth tax to be followed by a dharna in New Delhi. "The date of the dharna in Delhi has not been decided," Bains said.

"We will be sending representatives to non-Congress ruled states in the country to garner support against the move," he added.

Quoting Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bains said it was a fight for "life and death."

When pointed out that the state Congress has already met Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram over the issue, Bains said the Congress was shedding crocodile tears.

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