By Prof SK BHALLA
There is cosmetic hue and cry to scuttle the much desired initiative of LG’s administration to streamline the apparatus of governance in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. Despite the fact that J&K is the last bastion for the imposition/implementation of Property Tax but still those not habitual of observing the rule of law since last 7 decades are all out to denounce this long due move. This is not a new development as post abrogation of article 370, the unemployed politicians, their mouth pieces in trade unions as also vested interests are all out to generate chaotic situation by peddling lies and misinformation about a welcome step of the administration.
It seems to be a well planned conspiracy to sabotage the good initiative of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to take the present J&K UT to the zenith of peace, prosperity, progress and overall development which evidently is not digestible to those who are now sidelined and reduced to non entities. The way these politicians used to operate and govern has been vividly reflected with detailed accounts in the books of former Governor Late Jagmohan and former bureaucrat Ms Sonali Kumar. Not only this, the assertions of the former Chief Justice Ms Geeta Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal in landmark judgement in Roshni Scam is an eye opener and it is interesting to note that majority of those beating chest now on property tax had not welcomed the Roshni judgement. Even they are provocating the general public against the installation of smart meters for consumption of electricity and water, smart City projects, removal of roadside encroachments and above all vehemently oppose the dislodging of occupants from encroached government land. This clearly reflects the intentions and designs of these so called leaders who actually are after their loaves and fishes and are actually not in favor of streamlining the system for their petty ends.
On the streets, these leaders and their paid touts are demanding roll back of property tax without home work as the proposed slabs are very nominal as compared to rest of the country. In addition, the government has taken due care of poor by exempting dwelling units upto 1000 sq feet. They are demanding that such action should be left for the popular government but everyone in J&K is witness to the way regimes in past have encouraged corrupt practices in execution of various projects, engagement of an army of backdoor appointments in PHE, PDD, PSU, SED,HED, SWD, RDD corporations by inducting their own people. Even today, the common citizens is paying for the lapses of past leaders.
There are reforms going on in public utility sevices and the citizens in J&K are willing to pay their dues for availing the same but the only villian of non- implementation of reformist agenda are these identified home grown politicians and their cronies. Visibly, the series of reforms made post 370 removal have put J&K on development path and there is no need to roll back the property tax and alike measures in offing for the larger interest of public. Those cribbing on property tax if are really poor, the government should verify their known and unknown assets and axe them accordingly as per law of the land.