‘Super commercial tax, borewell cess should go’

3 weeks ago 9
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A day after the Federation of Organisations and Associations of Mysuru vociferously opposed the banner campaign launched by the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) to recover property tax dues from commercial establishments, former Minister and JD(S) MLA S.R. Mahesh threatened to launch a demonstration in front of the MCC building if the “super commercial” tax and borewell cess is not withdrawn in a week’s time.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Mahesh described the “super commercial” tax imposed on commercial buildings such as hotels, marriage choultries and cinema theatres as “illegal”. Far higher than commercial tax, it was imposed nowhere in the State except Mysuru.

It had been imposed a couple of years ago and the commercial building owners had moved the court against it. Under the Karnataka Municipalities Act 1964, there was provision for the urban local bodies to collect only commercial building tax, residential building tax and vacant plot tax. “Super commercial tax is illegal”, he said.

The commercial building owners, who had moved the court against it, had not paid their tax for this reason, he said before adding that the commercial building owners were ready to pay the tax and cooperate with the MCC if the tax is fixed as per the rules and provisions of law.

Citing the example of his own marriage choultry, Mr. Mahesh said the commercial tax would come to around ₹4 lakh if fixed as per the provisions of the Act. “But, under super commercial tax structure, I will have to pay ₹8.75 lakh per year”, he lamented.

Similarly, he said the MCC recently decided to impose borewell cess on commercial users including hotels, darshinis, lodges, marriage halls, shopping malls and supermarkets, ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹25,000 per month, depending on the size of their business.

Mr. Mahesh questioned the MCC’s wisdom in imposing such a cess when the business were reeling under the impact of COVID-19.

Even though there is no restriction on consumption of drinking water, enough Cauvery water is not supplied to the commercial enterprises in Mysuru, forcing them to sink borewells. “You collect tax, but you can’t supply enough water. If you collect tax even for that purpose, what will be the fate of the people”, Mr. Mahesh questioned.

He wondered how the MCC, which he said was now ruled by the BJP, which had a Mayor, and Congress, which had a Deputy Mayor, could impose such hefty tax on commercial enterprises struggling to cope with the impact of COVID-19.

He said the matter had been raised with Minister in charge of Mysuru district S.T. Somashekar and MCC Commissioner Lakshmikanth Reddy. “They have convened a meeting on Tuesday to resolve the matter”, he said before adding that the JD(S), led by its corporators, will stage demonstration in front of MCC if the super commercial tax and borewell cess is not withdrawn in a week’s time.

He pointed out that the cooks, cleaners and other employees working in these establishments and their families, which are dependent on the business from these commercial enterprises, will also join the protest.

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