Bharti Bhawan Gets Over ₹2.84 Lakh House Tax Notice | Allahabad News – Times of India

Prayagraj: Even as the country celebrates Azadi ka Amrit Mahotasva marking 75 years of independence and is paying homage to the freedom fighters, Bharti Bhawan library — a public library associated with a number of freedom fighters and established by Bharat Ratna Pt Madan Mohan Malviya at Loknath area of the Sangam city — has been levied Rs 2.84 lakhs house tax by the Prayagraj Municipal Corporation.
It is said that during the freedom movement, several prominent leaders used to sit in this building and give direction to the movement. Before independence, books were sent to jailed patriots from the library. This has been the main meeting place of great littérateurs like Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Mahadevi Varma and Sumitra Nandan Pant. The staff members of the library are baffled over the letter dated June 15, wherein the total tax liability on the library is Rs 2.84 lakhs, including the interest over the due tax not been paid since 2018-19. “The institution runs on the annual grant of Rs 2 lakhs given by the state government and the interest of few fixed deposits (FDs) opened by the monetary help extended by some prominent personalities, including former MP MM Joshi, former governor Moti Lal Vohra, etc. Given the minimal financial support, it is very hard for us to run the day-to-day expenses leave alone paying such a hefty amount as house tax,” said librarian Swatantra Pandey.
Moreover, till 1994, when there was a municipality system in the district, the municipality used to give an annual grant of Rs 15,000 to this building. With the passage of time, the grant was reduced, then in 1998 it was reduced to Rs 10,000.
A grant of Rs 3,806 was given to this building since 1998 by the state assembly which was later increased to Rs 1 lakh. Later, former CM Mulayam Singh Yadav, on the request of Janeshwar Mishra, increased the amount of grant to Rs 2 lakhs and the same is retained by the present government.
From 2018-19, the PMC is charging an annual amount of Rs 18,000 as house tax. “Several local corporators had assured us that this is unjust, and they would raise our concern in the ‘sadan’ and the library would be exempted from house tax. But here we are, PMC has again asked us to submit the tax and that too along with interest,” said Pandey. We hardly manage to pay the annual electricity bill of Rs 35-40,000 and the annual salary of five employees which is Rs 2.75 lakhs, he added.
Commenting on the issue, chief tax officer of PMC, PK Dwivedi said, “As per law, there is tax exemption only for places of religious practice and places for performing the last rites and graveyards. If the library authorities represent their case and seek exemption under 80G, we will certainly take up their case as per the law and that too on high priority.”

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