JVM supporters at a dharna in front of the district collectorate on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
JVM workers protested against the state cabinet’s nod to hike annual holding tax in urban areas before East Singhbhum district collectorate in Jamshedpur on Tuesday, while BJP MLA Raghubar Das called mediapersons to voice his displeasure on the same issue.
On February 9, the cabinet agreed to hike holding tax in Jharkhand’s urban areas, effective from 2014-15 fiscal, a rather brave move going contrary to populist schemes favoured in a poll year.
Accordingly, the annual holding tax would be hiked by 3 per cent, effective from 2014-15 fiscal.
The move has predictably earned flak from the Opposition as well as traders. The decision is being slammed for adding fiscal burden to people in an inflationary environment and global slowdown that has affected industries in the state as well.
JVM workers, led by JVM East Singhbhum district president Firoz Khan, staged a demonstration against the state’s decision and demanded an immediate rollback.
“This decision will pinch common masses from the next fiscal. Though the amount is payable annually, the holding tax hike on small establishments and private holdings will ultimately fuel price rise. We have submitted a memorandum to East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal apprising him about the ripple-effects and have demanded a rollback of the hike,” Khan said.
The JVM leader said they would be forced to take to the streets if the state government did not retreat from its stand.
In a separate development on Tuesday, Jamshedpur East MLA of the BJP and former minister Raghubar Das called the media to his Agrico residence to air his protest against the holding tax hike.
“The Congress-supported state government is emulating decisions of the UPA at the Centre. Though the chief minister (Hemant Soren) speaks of eradicating poverty in his public addresses, this decision will only increase the number of poor persons. The decision defies logic when the country is reeling under inflation,” said the BJP leader.
Jharkhand’s largest trade outfit Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) is also against the move.
“The state government, instead of improving the climate of business and investment, is further burdening us with new financial pressures. As it is, there is a sense of fear among entrepreneurs in view of the poor law and order situation. Now, with a hike in holding tax, our problems will be compounded,” said SCCI president Suresh Sonthalia.