Tax hike enrages Panauti locals
KAVRE, AUG 06 -
Panauti Municipality’s decision to implement a revised integrated property tax has put the locals with heavy burden.
The municipality, had decided to increase the tax by four times on January 12, 2012, and implemented it from July 16. It now charges Rs 4,000 per ropani on average which was Rs 1,000 per ropani until last year. The tax rate, however, varies from one ward to another. The tax rates have been fixed under four categories — commercial, residential, agriculture and barren land. The local body had started collecting property tax from fiscal year 2007-08. Although the all-party mechanism (APM), formed to run local bodies, had put the proposed hike on hold, the municipality took the step after the APM was dissolved as per the directive of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
The locals are, however, enraged with the municipality decision. “The municipality has failed to provide necessary facilities to the people,” said Ram Chandra Ramtel, a resident of Sunthan, blaming that the municipality had hiked the tax on the pretext of increasing facilities to its staffers. “We cannot pay the tax that was raised unilaterally.”
Even, the local wings of political parties are upset with the tax hike and have warned of a protest unless the municipality lowers the tax rate. “The municipality’s decision to hike tax has taken all of us by surprise,” said Kedar Bahadur Bhandari, chairman of Nepali Congress Panauti chapter. “We will stage a protest against the municipality decision if it is not corrected.”
Following a strong protest, the local body has initiated talks with representatives of political parties for a possible revision in tax rate. But it has seen little progress after the political parties rejected the municipality’s proposal to nominally reduce the tax rate- by only a quarter of the amount. “Talks are on over revising the tax but we are yet to reach a conclusion,” said Deepak Thapa, chairman of UML’s municipality wing.
Posted on: 2012-08-06 08:44