Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: The CPI(M) on Thursday criticised the authorities' decision to levy conversion charges on those who converted agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes like housing.

Ch. Babu Rao, floor leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) general body, said at a press conference that the people were already reeling under the burden of various taxes, including building fee, licence fee and vacant land tax. It was unfair on the part of the authorities to levy new taxes on them.

Referring to the notices issued by the authorities of the VMC to those who constructed houses after 2006 asking them to pay conversion charges under the Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Land (Conversion for Non-agriculture Purposes) Act, 2006, Mr. Babu Rao said, “As a result of these notices, except those who are residing in One-Town, all others will have to pay conversion charges to the government. The amount when collected will run into a few hundred crores of rupees,” he said. Mr. Babu Rao said that the notices issued to the residents of Bhavanipuram recently indicated that the amount to be paid will be about 15 per cent of the total value of the land, including the conversion charge and the penalty.

“The officials gave exemption to those who paid NALA (Non-Agriculture Land Assessment) tax till 2006 from payment of fine. But, they need to pay the conversion charge – which is 10 per cent of the land value – along with others,” he said.