Maharashtra: LBT on petrol, diesel dealers may be waived too

Mumbai: After scrapping local body tax (LBT) on traders whose annual turnover is less than Rs 50 crore, the Maharashtra government may soon extend the waiver to petrol and diesel dealers too.

The petrol prices may fall by Rs 2-3 if the LBT is waived, according to dealers. "We are positively considering exempting petrol and diesel dealers from LBT in municipal corporation limits. These dealers have been long saying that there are price variations in urban and rural areas, and net profit of individual dealers is not more than Rs 50 crore, so they too should be exempted," finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.

"We are looking at all the available options. If petrol-diesel dealers think we are doing justice only to other traders and not to them, we won't let that happen," he told PTI.

LBT is levied on petrol and diesel dealers in 25 municipal corporations, except Mumbai where octroi is levied. Uday Lodh, president of Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association, said the government earns around Rs 300 crore in LBT from petrol and diesel dealers.

"If the government can spend (lose revenue of) around Rs 4,000 crore by scrapping LBT on traders, then it can certainly spend Rs 300 crore in the interest of people. After the abolition of LBT, these traders will not slash the prices of their goods and only their profits will increase. But we will pass on the reduction to consumers," Lodh said.

Prices of petrol will come down by Rs 2-3 in the state if the LBT is waived, he said. The state government, starting August 1, abolished LBT on traders with annual turnover of less than Rs 50 crore. As much as 99.85 per cent of traders fall in this bracket.

The ruling BJP had promised LBT abolition in its poll manifesto. Thakur, in his speech, said the fight for merger was not limited to only the people of Belgaum and Karwar but extended to Maharastrians too.

He lamented Maharashtra politicians had never come out strongly and unitedly to support the cause. "They fight amongst themselves only for power."

"If Goa, with a population of six lakh, can get statehood, why can't the voice of 25 lakh people, who wish to be part of Maharashtra, be heard?" he asked.

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