OTHERS

HDMC to seek amendment to KMC Act

HUBLI Feb. 15. The Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation has decided to appeal to the State Government to amend the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, to clear the confusion on the introduction of the self-assessment scheme for property tax collection in the twin cities.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the corporation council here on Thursday, after it heard the opinion of a cross-section of the public, including Madan Desai, President of the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Anant Huilgoil, Secretary-General of the Citizens' Forum, Hubli.

Many corporators regretted that the people did not have a clear idea of the scheme, and the corporation had failed to clear the confusion. This made them complain about it, and interpret it wrongly.

The Mayor, Firdous Konnur, said the views of the people and the corporators would be compiled, and sent to the Government. The corporation received over 2,000 objections to the scheme, and most of them were heard at the meeting.

Mr. Desai said the people must be told how the capital asset value was determined. Determining tax on the basis of the market value was unscientific, and imposing levy on vacant land, vehicles, and for garbage disposal was untenable. Any move to bring the scheme into effect from April 1 would breed corruption, he added.

Alewoor and Shrikant Kemptur of the Hotel Owners' Association said it was difficult to comprehend the basis on which tax was levied. The corporation would have to face protests, if it implemented the scheme without clarifying the doubts of the people.

One of the participants alleged that there was discrimination in the provision of amenities to urban and rural areas. D.S.Shantaram suggested that a single-window system for collection of tax be introduced. Many others said the scheme was unscientific.

Pandurang Patil, former Mayor and Janata Dal(S) leader, regretted that the Government had not consulted the civic bodies before attempting to introduce the scheme.

In a memorandum to the Government, which was submitted to the corporation commissioner, the chamber said that replacing rateable value with capital asset value would result in the harassment of people. It was strange that vacant land and constructions were being treated on a par for the determination of tax. The time limit given for filing returns would also result in corruption, as there were no proper guidelines.

The levy of solid-waste management cess up to Rs. 1,000 a month for building or land would be a heavy burden on tax-payers. Once the levy was imposed on all citizens, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board could not ask the clinics and hospitals to manage waste on their own.

The proposal to collect Rs. 500 per motor vehicle was illegal, since their owners had already paid life tax under the Motor Vehicles Act.

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