Kerala's opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has decided to go ahead with the boycott of the steep hike in water tariff and land tax announced by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government.
A meeting of the LDF state committee on Sunday described the decision taken by the cabinet to hike not only the taxes and tariffs but also charges on various services provided by the government as an attack on the people’s right to live.
LDF convenor Vaikkom Viswan told reporters after the meeting that the government could have overcome the financial crisis without burdening the people if it had taken steps to collect at least half of the outstanding revenue arrears.
“The present crisis is the result of the inept management of the finances by the UDF government. We will not allow the government to burden people for its inefficiency,” the senior LDF leader said adding that the burden on the people will be much more than Rs20 billion stated by the government.
He said that the LDF meeting had decided to launch a door-to-door campaign against the anti-people measures of the government. The LDF workers will fan out across the state after declaration of the tax boycott at ward level meetings on September 29 and 30. District and state-level protests will follow. The LDF meeting has also decided to urge Governor P Sathasivam not to sign the ordinance hiking the taxes. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan will lead a delegation of LDF leaders to the Raj Bhawan for submitting a memorandum to the Governor in this regard next week.
The LDF convenor said they were hopeful that people cutting across political lines will take up the agitation as it was against their right to live. If the government tries to defeat the stir by penalising the people, they will throw the government out, he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has ruled out any review of the decision to hike the taxes in the light of the opposition stir. Referring to the call for boycotting the tax hike, he said that the government knew how to collect the hiked taxes.
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