Nepal’s ex-royals line up to pay tax

November 11th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 11 (IANS) Bowing to the winds of change that overthrew Nepal’s 239-year-old monarchy and ordered the deposed king and his family to start paying taxes and utility bills like other commoners, the country’s former princesses are now ready to comply with the law of the land.Three nieces of Nepal’s last king Gyanendra, who lost their royal prerogatives in 2006 after the king’s gamble to seize absolute power with the support of the army failed, have become the first members of the family to apply to the city authorities for paying property taxes, a report said.

Dilasha, Sitashma and Puja, the three daughters of Gyanendra’s younger brother Dhirendra who died in the infamous royal palace massacre in 2001, have written to the Kathmandu municipal authorities, asking how much tax they would have to pay on their properties, the Naya Patrika daily reported Tuesday.

In a joint letter sent Oct 3, the three former princesses, who also lost their titles, have asked for tax assessment regarding the slain prince’s estate in Kathmandu’s Maharajgunj area, a prime location that is now being eyed by real estate developers.

Though the municipal authorities are yet to send a team to the estate to assess how much tax should be levied, it is expected to run into millions.

Last month, Nepal’s electricity authorities warned that they would disconnect power supply to the residences of the former royals, including the deposed king, if the latter did not pay their overdue power bills, which ran into millions of rupees.

Besides having to pay taxes, the former royals are also jittery that they would now come under the land ceiling act, which was never imposed on them before.

In addition to the threat of the government taking over the excess land, there is also a stronger fear of properties being captured by squatters under the aegis of Maoist leaders, who are pressing the government to implement the revolutionary land reforms it has promised.

Soon after the fall of King Gyanendra’s regime in 2006, the former princesses, other ex-royals and royalists have been in a hurry to sell their property, media reports said.

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