Resident welfare organisations plan to move court against property tax hike

‘Draft notification issued without discussion in the GVMC council and consulting people’

In a webinar held here on Saturday, the members of various resident welfare organisations and from civil society, discussed the probability of challenging the proposed property tax hike by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) in a court, by filing a case against the civic body. The webinar was conducted by People for India, Visakhapatnam Forum.

B.V. Ramanjaneya Rao, senior advocate and State vice-president of All India Lawyers’ Union, said that the notification on property

tax issued by the GVMC Commissioner on June 3, on the basis of a resolution passed under Special Officer ignoring the elected

council of the GVMC was against the law and hence it should be challenged in the court.

The Visakha Apartment Residents Welfare Association (VARWA) general secretary B.B. Ganesh, and Visakha Residential Colony Associations’ Federation (NIVAS) general secretary P. Narayana Murty said that at the time of enacting the amendments for changing the system of levying property tax from annual rental system to capital value system opinion of people was not sought.

“As capital values of properties would be increased every year by the Stamps and Registrations Department, levying property tax on the basis of capital values will lead to heavy taxation, and hence, we oppose the new system. Without having any discussion in the elected council, a notification based on a resolution passed under the regime of Special Officer is not lawful and against Rule No.6 of the Levy and Assessment of Property Tax Rules, 2020, and is hence unconstitutional,” they stated.

B. Ganga Rao, the CPI(M) Corporator from 78th Ward, alleged that the State government surrendered before the Union government

to implement ‘anti-people’ urban reforms for getting additional loans. He called upon the unions and the members to build people’s resistance in wards and zones against the decision.

B.L. Narayana, president, Poura Grandhalayala Seva Samiti, said that it was undemocratic to levy property tax on capital value instead of annual rental value. He demanded that the GVMC immediately release the library cess, collected from people for the library, and construct the district library at Prahlad Kalyan Mandapam and renovate other libraries in the city.

N. Ramana Chalam, General Secretary, ICEU, Sagar, BSNL Employees’ Union, R Venkat Rao, president, Central govt

Pensioners’ Union, and G.Ganesh, Postal Employees’ Union, spoke.

The webinar resolved to demand cancellation of the notification and extension of time for submission of objection letters for at least one month.

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