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Tax rebate: Cong., BJP fight for honours

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI SEPT. 12. The issue of who should take the credit for extending 35 per cent rebate in property tax to the group housing societies by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has become the focus of a conflict between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP in the MCD.

While the Congress claims that it is they who have extended the rebate to the GPA (general power of attorney) holders of the group housing societies thus giving benefit to lakhs of Delhiites, the BJP asserts that it is they who introduced it last year and was not being completely implemented due to the hurdles posed by the officials of the Property Tax Department of the MCD.

As per the new provision, the MCD has provided an additional 15 per cent rebate in property tax besides the usual 20 per cent on timely payment to owners as well as to the GPA holders of flat owners and rented ones in the Cooperative Group Housing Societies from September 1. Earlier, a similar rebate was granted to "owners of self-occupied flats'' of these societies. It had created confusion as MCD officials had interpreted that GPA holders were not owners, thus depriving them of the rebate.

While the 20 per cent rebate is provided to all the property owners who deposit their tax before time, owners of flats in group housing societies were given an additional 15 per cent because they maintain the civic services and cleanliness of the area under them.

The matter had come to such an extent that a heated exchange of words was witnessed between the Leader of the House, Ram Babu Sharma, and the BJP Councillor, Vijender Kumar, at the Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday. Both Mr. Kumar and his colleague, Raj Karan Khatri, later walked out of the meeting.

The Congress refused to concede to their demand that the regulation was merely a clarification of the earlier provision: a fact admitted by the Municipal Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, himself. During the heated debate Mr. Sharma claimed that the Congress had provided major benefit to lakhs of GPA holders, Mr. Kumar alleged it was a mere political stunt.

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