Jammu: Amid outrage over the imposition of property tax, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday defended the move and said it will be implemented in consultation with the general public.
Property tax will ensure financial self-sustainability of cities and improvement of public amenities, he said in a statement.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday ordered the imposition of property tax in municipal areas from April 1, drawing strong protests from people from almost all walks of life. Political parties are demanding an immediate rollback of the order.
Various organisations, including the Jammu Bar Association, have threatened to intensify the agitation despite repeated assurances by the administration that property tax imposed in the union territory is the lowest in the country.
As per the government notification, the tax rates will be five per cent of the taxable annual value for residential properties and six per cent for commercial properties.
“Implementation (of property tax) shall be done in consultation with the general public. Common citizens’ interests will be protected,” Sinha said.
“Citizens’ welfare is the foremost priority of the government and property tax will ensure financial self-sustainability of cities and improvement of public amenities in the union territory,” he said.
“Our cities must witness rapid development and emerge as engines of growth. For that, financial self-sustainability of cities is necessary. Property tax in J&K will be one of the lowest in the country and will be used for improving public amenities in J&K,” he added. The statement issued appeared to be unclear in the sense that while the government was firm on its order, without either putting it in abeyance or withdrawing it, the outcome of the consultation on implementation appeared immaterial at present.
Speaking at a function here on Friday, Sinha criticised those opposing the introduction of property tax, saying, “We want every facility but are not ready to pay for anything. People need to rethink this.”
People raising “unnecessary hue and cry” over the imposition of property tax despite it being the lowest in the country, he had said.
“The people are supreme and it is the duty of the administration to watch their interests but those who are capable of paying for the services are also not interested in paying. They have money to buy iPhones, internet data packs and for playing video games but are not ready to pay the taxes,” the LG had said.