Contesting the order that a percentage-based ceiling could not be imposed and property tax should be collected only on the basis of rental value, the CPI has chalked out an agitation programme demanding a rollback of the ‘abnormal property hike.'

All the three times the tax was upwardly revised based on rental value the government of the time had fixed an upper ceiling of percentage, CPI district assistant secretary Ch. Raghavendra Rao and city secretary and floor leader in the GVMC A.J. Stalin said at a press conference here on Wednesday. The Mayor was merely shifting the blame to the Opposition. Instead, he should lead an all-party delegation to press the government for reducing the tax. The CPI was not against hike but it should be reasonable.

Supporting the tax hike amounted to not respecting the unanimous resolution passed by the general body meeting to limit the tax hike to 50 per cent with the Mayor himself presiding, Mr. Raghavendra Rao said.

“Even Congress corporators are privately admitting that the hike is abnormal,” Mr. Rao said.

Mr. Stalin said in 1993 and 2002 the tax hike was specifically capped by the Vijayabhaskar Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu governments. Even in 2007 the Rajasekhar Reddy Government had reversed its earlier decision and limited the tax hike at 50 per cent for non-residential buildings.

That being the case, the Mayor should press for a reversal of the memo issued by the Principal Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department by leading an all-party delegation to the Chief Minister. He also contested the claim that there had been no tax hike since 1993 in Visakhapatnam. In the then Gajuwaka municipality, the tax was hiked in 2002 and for the 32 gram panchayats too, the tax was increased after merger in the corporation forming GVMC.

The hike from April 1, 2010 should be applicable only to buildings constructed after that date and not to the existing 3.3 lakh assessments, he contended.

The CPI will conduct ‘padayatras' in all the zones from August 25 to 30, dharnas at the all the zone offices on September 1 and a dharna at the GVMC office on September 6.

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