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M’laya legislators pay homage to 26/11 victims
SHILLONG, NOV 26 (PTI/Correspondent):
Published on 26 Nov. 2010 11:40 PM IST
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The winter session of Meghalaya assembly began today with the house paying homage to the memory of the 26/11 victims on the second anniversary of the Mumbai carnage.
The members stood in silence for a minute as a mark of respect to all those who were killed by the terrorists and also for those who sacrificed their lives to protect others.
The session has only six working days.
Criticising the short period, opposition member James Sangma (NCP) said “is this a non-functioning government, which has no business to perform?”
He said the house sat for only 17 days in this financial year, which was not enough to discuss important issues. Meanwhile, Meghalaya Revenue Minister R.C.Laloo today said that the government is sincere in solving the vexed boundary dispute with Assam.
“The chief minister of Meghalaya and Assam on June 5, 2010 has shouldered the responsibilities to state Chief Secretaries for finalizing of the modalities for the talks on the boundary dispute,” he informed the Assembly.
Replying to volley of queries during the Question Hour on the first day of the Winter Assembly session, Laloo said, the government is on the process of collecting proper documents materials to proof our claim over the land which are disputed. Once these documents are available, the revenue minister said the government will start the negotiation process with the Assam government to resolve the pending boundary dispute.
Recently, chief minister Mukul Sangma had told reporters that the State is fully prepared with data and documents to pursue the inter-state boundary dispute talks with Assam.
Earlier, the Assam government has accused Meghalaya to have encroached upon 5,789.66 hectares of its territory affecting the five districts of Cachar (640.14 hectares), Kamrup (323.09 hectares), Kamrup (metro) (42.08 hectares), Goalpara (99.95 hectares) and Karbi Anglong (4,685 hectares).
Further, initiating tax reforms to ease its financial crisis, the Meghalaya government has hiked VAT by one per cent and increased luxury taxes for hotels and electricity tariff for big business houses.
The state cabinet last evening decided to hike taxes from the current four to five per cent on 142 items listed under Value Added Tax (VAT). From 2009 to January 2010, the state had generated VAT worth Rs 213.13 lakh.Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the cabinet has also decided to increase tariff for “big business houses and industries” falling under the Meghalaya Electricity Duty Act.
Big industries had enjoyed full exemption of the additional units in excess of 25,000 units consumed by them.
With the new reforms, the government will charge 3 paise for each unit in excess of 25,000 units.
The new proposed tax on electricity says that for those consuming up to 15000 units the charge would be 1 paisa/unit and for those consuming up to 25000 units would be charged Rs 1.5 paisa/unit.
Sangma said, with the hike, the government expects to generate Rs 1.5 crore to the exchequer.
The cabinet has also decided to raise luxury taxes for hotels and lodges.
Hotel rooms with upto Rs 200 as tariff would have to pay luxury tax of 5 per cent and rooms costing Rs 2500 and above, 20 per cent luxury tax.
For rooms costing between Rs 200 to Rs 500 the tax would be 7 per cent, between Rs 500 to Rs 1000 it will be 10 per cent and for those between Rs 1000 to Rs 2500 the luxury tax would be 15 per cent.
Additionally, there would be an increase in revenue by Rs one crore following the increase of luxury taxes.

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