Mumbai: Without naming Shiv Sena and BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said today that the local “political leadership” was not interested in ushering in the Local Body Tax—which replaces octroi—in the megapolis.
The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is controlled by Shiv Sena and BJP. Speaking in the Legislative Council, Chavan said the political leadership and the commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai wanted the octroi to continue, hence LBT was not introduced in the financial capital of the country.
He was replying to a calling attention notice of Sanjay Dutt (Congress). “Except for Mumbai, LBT is now in force in all the other 25 municipal corporations in the state,” Chavan said.
“I have said that LBT will be collected through the sales tax authority instead of the civic staff,” he said, adding that for this, government was ready to amend the law. “The new BJP-led government (in the Centre) has changed its stance on the general sales tax (GST),” Chavan said. “The Prime Minister now says GST should be brought in quickly.”
Traders are opposed to LBT. Chavan recently met mayors and municipal commissioners of civic corporations to ascertain their views on the issue.
Traders' grievance is that payment and refund system under the LBT entails a huge amount of paperwork, causes delays, and increases the compliance cost. Congress-NCP alliance received a major setback in the recent Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra, and there is pressure from within the two parties to scrap the LBT for appeasing the trader community, as Assembly elections are near.