Thane shops, malls to pay garbage tax from this year KDMT to get more conductors, drivers; depot to be revamped
In a bid to generate additional revenue, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) plans to levy an additional tax on commercial premises. From 2016, owners of small shops as well as those who run commercial businesses in malls will have to pay a ‘garbage tax’, which could range from anywhere between Rs300 to Rs45,000 per month.
Sunil Chavan, additional commissioner, TMC, said, “The proposal was put forth for approval and sanctioned by the general body at a meeting held earlier this week. The hiked taxes will now be applicable from the New Year.”
Levying this tax is likely to generate a revenue of around Rs20 crore a year for the TMC, said a civic official.
Owners of commercial shops as well as galas are, however, have opposed the levying of such a tax. “This decision is unfair. We have a small shop and don’t create much garbage on a daily basis; yet, we pay Rs300 a month. How can the TMC charge us for a garbage tax?” said a shop owner from Thane.
Thane Jewellers Association chairman Kamlesh Shreemal has also strongly opposed the tax. “The TMC doesn’t have its own dumping ground. On what basis are they demanding a new tax?” he said.
Thane city generates 750 tonnes of garbage per day, which is being dumped at a site in Diva without being processing. The TMC doesn’t have its own dumping ground.
“We are burdened with property tax, water tax, fire brigade tax, registration charges and now, this new garbage tax. Shop owners are a soft target. We oppose this tax. If need be, we will go to court and fight against it,” added Shreemal.
However, Chavan said, “The general body has the right to implement or amend taxes. Being a Smart City, Thane needs to earn more revenue.”
According to the garbage tax proposed by TMC, the civic body may charge Rs300 for small shops every month. The tax levied on marriage and banquet halls may be Rs2,500.
The tax levied on malls may be as high as Rs45,000 each month.
While three-star hotels may have to pay Rs3,000 as garbage tax, five-star hotels may have to shell out Rs6,000 every month.
City commuters have reasons to cheer as the civic body is looking at ways to develop the services of cash-strapped Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT).
Mayor Rajendra Devlekar convened a meeting early this week to discuss the possible ways to develop KDMT with municipal commissioner E Ravendiran and members of KDMT.
“Since KDMT is facing several problems, I decided to conduct a detailed meeting with the members of the KDMT and try to find solutions to make the service better,” said mayor Devlekar.
Currently, the income generated by the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation’s (KDMC) transport department is around Rs7 lakh through 165 buses which ply on different routes within and outside the city. However in 2011, the civic transport body generated an income of around Rs6 lakh with only 55 to 60 buses plying.
Lack of drivers and conductors is one of the major problems faced by the KDMT.
The authorities decided to look into recruiting more drivers and conductors, developing more depots for KDMT and repairing the existing depot at Ganesh Ghat in Kalyan (West).
“We need to develop the existing depot first, which can accommodate 100 buses at a time. The old depot needs repair and more staff. We have recently acquired 60 buses but are struggling to park them as we have only one depot. Developing more depots is also very crucial,” said KDMT chairman Nitin Patil.
While the KDMC general body has already passed the decision to recruit more drivers and conductors, the implementation of the decision is awaited.
“Rs8 crore has been reserved for depot development in the KDMT budget. We will ensure the implementation soon,” said Devlekar.
KDMT had also planned to build three more depots in KDMC jurisdiction. While one is sanctioned at Vasant Valley in Kalyan (West), the other two are awaited at Dombivli Khambalpada and Vitthalwadi Kalyan (East).
The KDMT has planned to recruit 450 conductors and 450 drivers on contract as the buses under the JNNURM scheme require trained drivers.