All 35 Congress councillors led by Mayor Mahabala Marla have objected to the decision of the Mangalore City Corporation to hike property tax by 15 per cent.
In a letter addressed to Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner Ajithkumar Hegde S., Mr. Marla said the decision was in violation of the model code of conduct. He has asked Mr. Hegde to keep the decision in abeyance till completion of elections and the MCC council holds a meeting to take a decision on it.
Mr. Marla and seven other Congress councillors were at a press meet convened by Congress nominee for the Lok Sabha polls B. Janardhana Poojary on Monday where they expressed their commitment not to hike property tax as assured in the party’s manifesto during council elections.
Mr. Marla told reporters that the corporation decided to publish in newspapers about the hike in property tax on March 5 when the model code of conduct was in force. “I have written a separate letter to the Commissioner pointing this fact and asking him to keep the same in abeyance till the end of elections when the council holds its meeting,” he said.
Mr. Poojary said the decision of the Corporation to hike the tax was taken in a hurry and by keeping the councillors in dark. “I will not allow this to happen. I will stand by the commitment made by the party regardless of the result of this election (Lok Sabha),” he said. People need not pay the increased tax. “If anybody pays, our councillors will ensure that the same is returned,” he said.
When pointed that two Congress MLAs — J.R. Lobo and Mohiudin Bava — were party to the decision of the MCC to hike property tax, Mr. Poojary said, “They have realised their mistake. They are now against the move.” Mr. Poojary said his assurance of not increasing the property tax will not be violation of model code of conduct. “Officials have violated the model code of conduct.”
Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, who was the Administrator of MCC when the decision was taken, said he had sought a report, including the dates on which the decision was taken, from the MCC Commissioner.