After a day-long discussion on the issue, no concrete solution could be reached. Following that, in the evening, around 5,000 traders gathered at Deccan area to protest against LBT. In the meeting, state government officials refused to cancel Local Body Tax (LBT) and said that it will be strictly implemented.
Two LBT officials Ramnath Sonawane and Sudhir Cheke came to the PMC to discuss the issue with a 5-member committee from Pune Merchant Association. In the meeting, the LBT officials told committee members that the new tax had been implemented successfully in Jalgaon, Kalyan and Dombivli. They also said that the ongoing traders’ strike is hampering the common people and small traders. On the other hand, the committee members discussed 28 objectionable points in the LBT.
Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak was also present in the meeting. He said, “The demand to postpone LBT for next six months is illogical. Merchants have taken objection on the 28 points.
We cleared that, out of the 28, only three points are PMC-related and we don’t have the right to give any relaxation. We can only convey their demand to the state government. LBT is very convenient and user-friendly as compared to Octroi. Actually, merchants should welcome the decision. It is completely based on self discipline and compliance.”
“Merchants think that the structure of LBT will encourage ‘Inspector Raj’. However, LBT’s purpose is not to interfere in their business but to co-operate,” Pathak added. State officials said the objections will be submitted to the Chief Secretary of the state.
How is the new tax different from Octroi?
Local Body Tax (LBT) gives direct access of accounts and turnovers of merchants and this point is a major concern. Earlier, Octroi was charged on the material that came into the city. But LBT will be charged on overall turnover of merchants and Octroi inspectors will recover LBT.