Unusual turn: Congratulatory meeting turns into protest

RCB head leaves office to avoid residents; protest against snub follows; tax cuts demanded.


Mudassir Raja December 29, 2011

RAWALPINDI:


The residents on Wednesday protested against the attitude of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) executive officer for not listening to their demands regarding property and water taxes.


Over 250 Westridge, Chorr Harpal, Tench Bhatta and Chungi No 22 residents went to RCB Executive Officer Rana Manzoor Ahmed’s office asking him to decrease property taxes, but to their disappointment, the board’s head did not meet them.

“After most of our demands were accepted by the station commander on Monday, we went to the RCB offices to thank the administration and urge the executive officer to further decrease the tax rates, but Rana Manzoor left his office instead of meeting us,” said former RCB vice president Hafiz Hussain Ahmed.

He said they had arranged a large meeting with the RCB head to convince him to decrease taxes, but changed the event to show their gratitude to the station commander for accepting about 80 per cent of their demands.

The attitude of the RCB head angered area residents who chanted slogans against him and urged the federal government to remove him, Hafiz Hussain said.

The RCB recently revised the tax rate for commercial property from 10 per cent per annum to 25 per cent, and residential property tax rates went from five per cent to 10 per cent. “We had asked for a decrease on commercial rates from 25 per cent to 20 and for residential rates to be brought down from 10 per cent to 7.5 per cent, the former RCB official added.

Furthermore, area residents asked for the reversal of rates for birth and death certificate forms from Rs200 to Rs10. The protestors also demanded a decrease in the fee for official site and building plans.

The RCB hiked these rates from Rs150 to Rs300 for residential and Rs200 to Rs750 for commercial property.

Hafiz Hussain criticised the RCB management for its inaction on defaulting taxpayers, saying that as much as Rs1.65 billion had yet to be collected by the board, and that instead of endeavouring to collect unpaid dues, the board is further burdening those who followed the rules and paid their taxes on time.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.

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