Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today flayed the CPI-M-led LDF agitation against recent hike in tax rates on liquor among others as hundreds of activists staged a dharna in front of the secretariat here and in all 14 district collectorates.
Criticising the agitation, Chandy wanted LDF leaders to explain to people whether they were opposed to hike in tax rate of liquor and tobacco products. Opposition leader and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan inaugurated the LDF dharna here and asked the government to rollback all tax hikes and wanted Chandy to tender an apology to the people.
LDF has been protesting against imposition of the new tax rates through the ordinance route ignoring assembly. The LDF alleged that government brought new taxes to mobilise resources to a tune of Rs 4,000 crore.
To mobilise more resources in view of severe financial crisis, the state government had last month brought luxury cars and buildings under higher tax rate net, besides revising tax structures of Indian Made Foreign Liquor, tobacco products, and cigarettes. The government had also hiked the fair value of land by 50 per cent.
These moves were seen as a measure to cover up the revenue loss the government suffered due to its decision to close down 732 liquor bars as parts of its policy to reduce liquor availabilty and enforce total prohibition in five years.
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