Politi­cians, babus at log­ger­heads over tax hike

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HTNAVIMUMBAI - G Mo­hi­ud­din Jeddy ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The stage is set for a clash be­tween the bu­reau­cracy and the po­lit­i­cal class over rais­ing of taxes.

Navi Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (NMMC) is all set to in­crease prop­erty tax and wa­ter charges in the city soon to com­bat the financial crunch that the civic body is fac­ing. Mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner Di­nesh Wagh­mare, who is firm on this de­ci­sion, is vir­tu­ally on a col­li­sion course with the rul­ing NCP.

Wagh­mare said if the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not ap­prove the pro­posal, he would use the pow­ers vested in him to raise taxes.

Former min­is­ter Ganesh Naik, who heads the rul­ing party, has how­ever re­it­er­ated that he will not al­low taxes to be raised for the next 10 years come what may.

Naik had in 2005 promised that there would be no in­crease in taxes in the city for the next 20 years, an as­sur­ance he has re­peated in ev­ery elec­tion cam­paign.

Speak­ing at an NCP work­ers’ meet ear­lier this week, Naik said, “I will not al­low prop­erty taxes and wa­ter charges to be raised for the next 20 years.”

With Naik stat­ing his de­ci­sion, any pro­posal by the ad­min­is­tra­tion could be re­jected by the NCP ma­jor­ity gen­eral body and stand­ing com­mit­tee of NMMC. If re­quired, Wagh­mare has said, he was ready to use the pow­ers vested in him to over­ride ob­jec­tion by the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Speak­ing on mea­sures be­ing planned by NMMC to over­come the dif­fi­cult financial po­si­tion it is fac­ing be­cause of the abol­ish­ment of Lo­cal Body Tax, its main source of in­come, Wagh­mare said, “Prop­erty tax is a sig­nif­i­cant source of in­come. At present the rate­able or rental value sys­tem is used to cal­cu­late the tax. If we use the BMC pat­tern of Cap­i­tal value method based on the mar­ket value of the prop­erty in­stead of the rental value, there is will be a huge in­crease in our rev­enue. It will in­crease by al­most Rs550 crore.”

He said, “The wa­ter charges in our city are the least in the MMR re­gion. We will have to in­crease them as well.”

Com­ment­ing on the op­po­si­tion to the in­crease in the taxes, Wagh­mare said, “If changes are re­quired in the city, ad­min­is­tra­tive will alone is not enough. If there is po­lit­i­cal will, a lot of de­vel­op­ment can take place in the city.”

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