Tax evasion by schools
GMC Commissioner Devashish Sharma recently disclosed that some reputed schools of Guwahati, including Don Bosco School, Panbazar, Maria Public School and Royal Global School have been evading property tax for the last 10 years. It is unacceptable considering these so-called reputed schools have been collecting huge fees on many heads like tuition fees, building maintenance, electricity charges, medical and land revenue. Why has the GMC been silent for so many years? Were the previous GMC officials managed under the table? Shockingly, the reason cited by the management of Don Bosco School is outrageous. They have said all religious places, including the churches, are barred from paying property taxes. The question now arises is: Is the Don Bosco school doing a charity service? If not, then they have to pay the taxes as calculated by the GMC. We are all aware that Don Bosco School charges school fees from the student, and in fact, nothing comes free for the students. They have to pay bus fees (those availing bus services). During the time of admission, the school authorities charge admission fees which are quite high from the students irrespective of the status of the financial condition of the parents. The manipulative management of the Don Bosco School is using the church as a shield to excuse themselves from paying property taxes. This particular school on many past occasions violated the secular character of the country. For so, many years the school management has debarred the students from organizing Saraswati puja on their campus, but there is no restriction on the celebration of Christian festivals. The church always uses the school campus for religious functions but the parents, as well as students, never complain. In this case, how can Don Bosco School management be a non-profit organization? During the tough lockdown period, these schools never gave relaxation to the parents in regards to school fees. To be honest, all the schools are business centres. Even the church located inside the Don Bosco School campus thereby is doing business in renting out its premises for a marriage function. In such a scenario, it is not justifiable on the part of GMC authorities to give any kind of relaxation.
I was a citizen of the Guwahati have full faith and confidence in the present GMC Commissioner that he would leave no stone unturned to bring these erring school managements into the right path.
A shocking tragedy
The whole country is shocked at the loss of the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), his wife and 11 other defence personnel in the tragic Mi-17V5 chopper crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on December 8. The Mi-17V5 military transport helicopter is one of the advanced and safest. It is equipped with modern technology. It has been in service with the IAF (Indian Air Force) since 2012. It is also a fact that after launching, this Russian-made chopper (Mi-17V5) has met with a few fatal accidents in which many IAF and Army officials and crew members lost their lives. Bearing in mind its accident records, the Government should institute a high-powered technical committee to examine the machinery for a thorough technical evaluation and ascertain whether any glitch might have led to the accident?
Kudos to Harnaaz Sandhu
The 21-year-old Harnaaz Sandhu, representing India at the 70th Miss Universe-2021, held at Eilat in Israel, brought home the crown, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000. Sandhu, a model, was one of the 80 contestants in the pageant organised amidst the pandemic. But today, Indians all over the world are very proud of her. Interestingly, Lara Dutta's victory year was also the birth year of Sandhu, who after the crowning said, 'Chak de fatte India! Congratulations Harnaaz Sandhu, the combination of beauty and brains. You have proved that the young generation of India have some of the smartest and the most beautiful people in the world. She will be a great inspiration for the Indian youth to be highly self-confident, self-believer, and to believe in doing things rather than just thinking and performing well in difficult situations. Kudos to Harnaaz Sandhu. Keep it up!
Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee