October 11, 2020

Property tax in JK: A contradiction of commitment on land rights

Imposition of property tax in Jammu & Kashmir is overtly and covertly a ploy to force the bonafide residents of Jammu & Kashmir to sell off their immovable properties including residential houses, commercial complexes and lands at the lowest prices as obviously this is an attempt to  force them to virtually put on auction their properties . Knowing that Jammu & Kashmir resisents are the victims of a crumbling economy  and as such won’t be in a position to pay property tax right now, the central government should not have announced the implementation of  property tax in  Jammu & Kashmir amid an unprecedented economic stress triggered by the intensifying spread of COVID-19 more in Jammu and less in Kashmir. While the entire country is in complete chaos since March this year after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic, the announcements of the provocative measures just to reduce the bonafide residents of Jammu & Kashmir to second class citizens don’t head to any dead end. While the municipalities across  Jammu & Kashmir are already charging citizens for the services and facilities they provide to them since early nineties,  a question  can be asked that what for the property tax is to be charged from the inhabitants of Jammu & Kashmir? Upgrading the development on the hard earned money of the local populations is not the commitment made to people of Jammu & Kashmir on the development of their cities and towns by the central government but extension of the development schemes not extended to the people of Jammu & Kashmir during last seventy years is the commitment of the central government as reiterated by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha in one of his latest remarks on development in Jammu & Kashmir. Forget about the economic empowerment and upliftment of the people of Jammu & Kashmir through implementation of more and more centrally sponsored schemes, the central government only announces extension of hostile central laws to Jammu & Kashmir just to scrap income and employment  generation avenues already enjoyed for last several decades by the bonafide residents of Jammu & Kashmir.

Unless and until the central government does not put off it’s plans of implementing more and more central laws in Jammu & Kashmir till the formation of a popular government and fulfills it’s promise on restoration of statehood, the people of Jammu & Kashmir won’t reconcile themselves to the situation developing after last year’s August 5 decision of the parliament and the outbreak of COVID-19 since March this year.    

Tinkering with only laws governing property and land rights shows the central government’s intention to spoil the already spoiled economy in Jammu & Kashmir. The central government could have announced slew of relief and rehabilitation measures for the fruit growers and the operators of tourism and travel industry to release the unprecedented economic pressure exerted on them by over 13 month long lockdown and two successive untimely snowfalls this year, but  it only extends the implementation of more and more such central laws which are inimical to the economic and commercial interests of the bonafide residents of Jammu & Kashmir. Unless and until the central government does not put off it’s plans of implementing more and more central laws in Jammu & Kashmir till the formation of a popular government and fulfills it’s promise on restoration of statehood, the people of Jammu & Kashmir won’t reconcile themselves to the situation developing after last year’s August 5 decision of the parliament and the outbreak of COVID-19 since March this year.

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