BARIPADA: Protesting the decision of Baripada municipality to hike holding and property tax, members of various political parties staged a dharna outside the Collector’s office on Tuesday. Submitting a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through the Collector, the agitators belonging to the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI and CPI(M) claimed that the hike is almost 11 to 13 times more which would be a burden for residents. They warned to take legal recourse if their demands are not addressed at the earliest.
On May 4, the municipality had announced that the holding and property tax had been hiked and will be effective from the date of issue of the notice. Any objection could be reported to authorities concerned within 60 days, the notice stated.
Town President of District Congress Committee Santanu Kumar Pal, who led the protest, said earlier the municipality took Rs 300 annually as holding tax as per utilisation of land by the residents. Within a span of four to five years, it has suddenly decided to hike the tax by almost 13 times.
There is a provision to consider economic condition of the residents before charging holding and property tax but now both the rich and the poor sections have to pay equal amount, he said, adding that the municipality has hiked the tax without conducting a proper survey.
The protestors alleged that the municipality has failed to provide basic benefits to residents of 28 wards. Irregular water supply through pipelines, poor sanitation, garbage lifting, poor anti-mosquito drive, no parking system and bad drainage and roads are common in all the wards.
Contacted, Baripada Municipality chairman Krushnananda Mohanty said the valuation had been fixed as per different locations. We have received complaints from residents and steps will be taken soon in this regard, he said.