BJP steps up pressure to withdraw property tax hike at Bangalore

Out of 16 lakh property owners in the city, 3.5 lakh have paid property taxes to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) after the body ruled by the Congress-JD(S) combine revised the hike by 20 per cent (residential) and 25 per cent (non-residential). Still, the opposition, BJP, is not willing to accept the hike.

The BJP has suggested to the ruling Congress in the state that it collect improvement charges of Rs 518 crs from builders. Not only is this amount pending for several years, it also exceeds what BBMP stands to gain by way of the increased tax hike, Rs 400 crore, points the BJP.

While mayor BN Manjunath Reddy agreed to collect the Rs 518 crore arrears from builders, he declined to withdraw the hike.

A council meeting called on Thursday to discuss starred questions had the BJP corporators discussing the enhanced property tax matter after the mayor withdrew the suspension of BJP’s opposition leader in the council, Padmanabh Reddy, and some other corporators.

In not allowing the council meeting to conclude peacefully, BJP corporators, according to sources, were acting on clear instructions handed out by the party’s senior leader R Ashoka.

Led by Padmnabha Reddy, the opposition corporators staged a protest inside the house while demanding total rollback of the enhanced tax.

In fact, a fortnight ago, the mayor had announced that the civic body was withdrawing the zonal regulation, which caused the property tax to go up by 60-80 per cent. It was later that the BJP held a protest in the city under the leadership of its newly elected party president BS Yeddyurappa with the corporators protesting in the monthly meeting. Because of this the mayor suspended Padamanabha Reddy, Umesh Shetty, Mohan Raj and Hebbal Nagaraj for not allowing the council to function.

After commencement of the council, Padmanabha Reddy demanded that even the hike of 20 per cent for residential and 25 per cent for non-residential properties be withdrawn. He also demanded that a delegation meet the chief minister and convince him to not to hike property tax.

Saying that the state government had already issued an order to enhance property tax, Manjunath Reddy declined the demand. In fact, this hike should have been made once every three years but was not done for the past 16 years. If the enhancement was done once in three year, then the people wouldn’t have felt the heat, he said.

M Shivaraju, chairman for the taxation and finance standing committee also shot down the rollback demand. “The hike is justified. When we felt that the hike was too much, we met the CM and withdrew the zonal regulations allowing for a hike of only 20 per cent for residential and 25 per cent for non-residential properties. If we have to roll back the hike completely, it will become very difficult to take up developmental works at ward levels due to a shortage of funds,” he said.

The meeting was adjourned till lunch but BJP continued its protest, after which the mayor adjourned the meeting indefinitely.

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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