Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: After drawing flak from several quarters over the hike in holding tax effected by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Odisha government on Monday put the revised tax on hold.

Speaking to media, Housing and Urban Development Minister Pratap Jena said that holding tax in the Capital city will continue to be collected as per the old rates following a direction of the Chief Minister to put the revised tax on hold.

"BMC had taken a decision to increase holding tax on the basis of the benchmark valuation of land. A petition had also been filed in the Orissa High Court challenging the decision of the BMC. Taking serious note of people's concern, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed to put the revised tax on hold till further orders of the High Court,” Jena added.

Earlier in the day, Congress staged a protest in front of the BMC office demanding immediate roll back of the revised tax.

Hundreds of party workers and leaders led by PCC president Niranjan Patnaik stormed into the office of the civic body and staged dharna in front of the office.

Patnaik had said "The BMC has increased the holding tax as much as the benchmark value of the land cost. It means poor and middle class family have no rights to live in Bhubaneswar. Only capitalists and rich class people can live here. Is it possible on part of a common man to pay such heavy amount as tax?” he questioned.

“We request to the government to slash the tax amount for the larger interest of the people of all classes,” Patnaik had said.

The BMC had earlier announced to file certificate case against big defaulters. The civic body had clarified yesterday that the tax pending more than three years will attract certificate case as per OPDR (The Orissa Public Demands Recovery) Act.

Commercial establishments and other big institutions in the city would face certificate cases if they had not cleared the tax for three years or above. Action in OPDR Act is a routine affair, said Srimant Mishra, deputy commissioner (Revenue) of the civic body.