Shiv Sena is in no mood to spread out the red carpet for Local Body Tax (LBT) – set to replace octroi from October 1. MiD DAY had reported on February 14 (‘Shiv Sena locks horns with BJP over Rs 7,000 cr revenue’) about the party’s resistance to the new tariff.
The point is further elucidated by the fact that Sena leader and BMC standing committee chief Rahul Shewale concentrated his Friday budget speech on the need to set up improved security systems at octroi nakas and glossed over LBT. Shewale has asked the civic body to get the CCTV cameras installed at the earliest as he feels that this, and not LBT, is the need of the hour. A proposal in this regard has been pending for a long time with the administration.
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) –, which is at the helm of affairs at BMC, along with Sena – has been ambiguous in its stand over the issue, and Congress had promised to approach the state government in case the new tax doesn’t produce the desired results. Through his speech, Shewale has made it implicit that the Sena would continue to endorse octroi to get the envisaged Rs 7,000 crore in the corporation’s kitty for 2013-14.
“We are not in favour of LBT and there is a need to have CCTVs and scanners installed at check nakas where octroi is collected so there is less evasion. Also, to fortify the nakas, retired soldiers, who have spent many years guarding the country’s borders, should be employed,” the standing committee chief said.
Raju Pednekar, law, revenue and general purposes committee chairman, said, “This proposal has been pending with the administration and we are waiting for the execution to take place. If these steps are taken, there would be less evasion and we will be able to generate more revenue for the civic body.” However, when contacted by MiD DAY, Vishwas Agharkar, chief assessor and collector, said, “I am not aware of the proposal. I will look in to this matter and get back to you.”
While octroi is a tax levied on goods at the entry in the city and is collected in cash on a daily basis, LBT is a lump sum charged on the value of goods and is payable within 40 days of bringing the merchandise into the municipality.