VISAKHAPATNAM: Former civil servants, teachers and well-known personalities of Visakhapatnam strongly objected to the abnormal hike in property tax being imposed by the state government.
At a webinar held on property tax on Sunday, several speakers said at a time when the people were facing severe impact of Covid-19 pandemic second wave, many states were either waiving taxes or giving some concessions whereas the Andhra Pradesh government was taking ruthless decisions by imposing heavy taxation changing the system of levying property tax from rental basis to capital value of property. The webinar was organised by Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents Welfare Association (VARWA).
They said the draft notification on property tax issued by Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) commissioner ignoring the recently elected GVMC Council was unconstitutional and undemocratic because arbitrary taxation without representation was not valid in any law.
“The government is supposed to present a white paper before the people giving the expenditure and income and explain the need for enhancing the taxes,” said EAS Sarma, former energy secretary and convenor for Forum for Better Visakha.
“As per the report of the Controller and Auditor General, AP is full of debts. In order to borrow additional loans for coming out of debts, the state government is implementing programmes like urban reforms, electricity reforms and others as being imposed by the Central government. Since they are harmful to people, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu governments have not implemented them. We should resist involving all sections of people,” said A Aja Sarma, general secretary, Forum for Development of North Andhra.
“It is inhuman to bring in such an ordinance levying heavy taxation when people are in distress. There is no meaning in taxing vacant lands because they do not yield any income to the owner,” said O Naresh Kumar, CEO, Symbiosis and vice president, IT Park Association.
The members of various residents’ welfare associations are planning to organise dharnas at the GVMC headquarters and all zonal offices in Visakhapatnam on June 29, said BB Ganesh, general secretary of VARWA....