Govt assures to help Lady Keane College in Rs 45 lakh Property Tax row

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Meghalaya Government has assured to do everything on its part to ensure Lady Keane College can function without any pressure from anybody.

Lady Keane College, one of Northeast India’s first colleges, has been asked to pay Rs 45 lakh as service charge by the Shillong Cantonment Board as it is located on defence land, an official said on Sunday. Founded in 1935, the college is affiliated to the North-Eastern Hill University.

Reacting to this, Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said, “In the next 2-3 days, the present principal, the previous principal of the college and the Governing body will sit and we from the government side, we will do everything to ensure that this prestigious college of Meghalaya can function without any pressure from anybody.”

He, however, said that the governing body of the college is yet to officially inform the state government on this regard.

“On the personal front I have talked with the principal of the lady keane college yesterday and enquired about how it started and why this issue, She explained to me that this is the first time that such a thing has happened and the Lady Keane College, which was established since 1934 (if I am not mistaken), have all the records to prove that they are not in the cantonment area,” said Rymbui.

The Shillong Cantonment Board has asked the college to pay the sum of Rs 45 lakh as a service charge as it is located on defence land.

“You are kindly requested to make necessary payment regarding the provisional service charges which has been calculated for the period w.e.f. 1.4.2022 to 31.3.2023 at an approximate amount of Rs 45,25,956/-,” the board’s chief executive officer Vijay Rajak said in the order. “The amount of service charges is worked out by the board on the guidelines issued on this behalf by the Govt. under Section 109 of the Cantonment Act 2006,” CEO said.

 Rajak said the Arunachal Pradesh government, the Forest Department and the Weaving Department of the Meghalaya government, and the Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd that have properties in the cantonment board area pay the statutory taxes and charges annually. Lady Keane College’s principal Khlur Mukhim said she was shocked and finds the July 29 order “absurd to say the least” as the college predates all other establishments set up post-Independence, “not to mention the Cantonment Board here”