Thane shops, malls to pay garbage tax from this year KDMT to get more con­duc­tors, driv­ers; de­pot to be re­vamped

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Shashikant Kothekar shashikant.kothekar@hin­dus­tan­ Sajana Nam­biar sajana.nam­biar@hin­dus­tan­

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.

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