SIVASAGAR, March 18: The citizens of Sivasagar, through a number of public meetings, have registered their protests against the quantum jump in municipality property tax.
The Sivasagar Paura Kardata Nagarik Moncha (SPKNM) in a meeting held in Sivasagar Hindu Dharma Namghar on Saturday resolved not to pay the taxes to the municipality board until a negotiated settlement with the authority is not arrived.
The meeting was presided over the president of the SPKNM, Anaga Mohan Sarmah. Biswajit Dutta, assistant secretary told this correspondent that the SPKNM is going to submit a memorandum to the chairman of the Sivasagar municipality board (SMB) and the deputy commissioner Sivasagar to apprise them of their decision not to pay taxes at enhanced rate.
The citizens, in a meeting held in on March 12, castigated the government’s arbitrary decision to harass the citizens and demanded withdrawal of the notice for tax hike. The meeting presided over by Ananda Mohan Sarmah, was attended by over two hundred citizens. Debabrat Borthakur, one of the convenors, in his speech said that Sivasagar municipality does not have the right to levy more tax than the amount levied earlier as it has failed to serve the basic civic needs of the town.
To spearhead an agitation to oppose all such attempt to unjust taxation, the meeting formed a 21-member executive body ‘Sivasagar Paura Kardata Nagarik Mancha’ with Ananga Mohan Sarmah as president, Manoj Kumar Borthakur as the working president, Bisawjit Dutta and Bakul Bijay Chutia as the joint secretaries.
The committee with at least one member from each will continue to carry out democratic protest till the government rolled back its policy of hiking revenue collection at the expense of the citizen’s right to gain justice. Ananga Mohan Sarma said that the municipality boards are no longer autonomous, self sustaining self governing bodies as enshrined in our Constitution but are being run like government departments.
The municipality tax was levied in Assam in accordance with the APWD assessment rates, but now the government has served notices to levy property tax as per CPWD rates.