The nominated councillors are in the process of preparing an agenda for imposition of house tax in the city. The elected councillors have been opposing the imposition of the tax and this was rejected by the House in a previous meeting.
The nominated councillors, however, are now all set to prepare an agenda about the issue. The imposition of House Tax is a condition under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The UT Administration has over a period of time sent several reminders to the MC for the same.
Nominated councillor M P Kohli said, “We are preparing a proposal for imposition of House Tax. A small amount of tax could be imposed on the city residents so that the grants that are received under JNNURM are not stalled. It is for the development of the city that the agenda is being prepared.”
The agenda will require the consent of the Mayor. The present Mayor Subhash Chawla had earlier stated that no House Tax would be implemented this year. The nominated councillors had held a meeting with the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil a few days ago wherein they were asked to prepare this agenda.
The imposition of House Tax is a contentious issue which no elected councillor wants to support. It has been stated that instead of imposing new taxes, the civic body should ensure recovery of the existing taxes. Another bone of contention is that after the UT Administration asked the MC to impose tax on commercial property, it was decided that the Administration would give a matching grant to the civic body. The councillors rue that since that grant is also not being given, they would not want to put an additional burden on the residents.
Another issue that is likely to be brought to the meeting of the House this time is settling the bills of the contractor who was allotted the contract for construction of the day market at Mauli Jagran. After the work had started, the Congress and nominated councillors voted to get the work stalled.
The audit department of the Municipal Corporation had written a letter to the Municipal Commissioner stating that the amount be recovered from the councillors who had voted in favour of cancellation as this led to losses to the MC. This issue would now be discussed in the House meeting.