Shillong: Lady Keane College, one of Northeast India’s first colleges, has been asked to pay Rs 45 lakh as a 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 with the North-Eastern Hill University.
“You are kindly requested to make necessary payment regarding the provisional service charges which have 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 number 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,” he 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”.
“The college was founded during the British era in 1935. With a legacy of over eight decades of eventful existence, the college has to its credit a record of very distinguished service rendered to the cause of uplift and empowerment of women through the spread of liberal education,” he said.
The college authority is taking up the issue with the state government to correct this “anomaly”, which could put its functioning in jeopardy, he added.
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