Threatens to launch state-wide agitation from February 1

Navi Mumbai : The Local Body Tax is likely to become a war of nerve between the Maharashtra government and trading community. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has already agreed to give some relief by reducing in existing LBT rates. 

The civic body has submitted a revised draft proposal, awaiting a green signal from the state government.
However, trading community across the state has given an ultimatum to the state government.
Traders from Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra under the leadership of Federation of Associations of Maharashta (FAM) met recently and resolved that unless a decision to replace octroi/LBT is taken latest by January 31, the trading community will launch state-wide agitation from February 1, 2014.
The latest move of FMA may take a political twist, a source knowing the development said.
The federation has sought support from all political parties.
It is learnt, Aam Aadmi Party, after forming a government in Delhi, looks beyond the National Capital Region and eyeing on forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, it has already given their complete support on this issue, a spokesperson of FAM claimed.
“The business community of Maharashtra is not averse to paying tax, but it is against the way LBT is being imposed as it has re-introduced “Inspector Raj” coupled with harassment and corruption by the municipal authorities , and has added one more window of burden for the trading community”, says Mohan Gurnani.
The federation has already written in a letter to UPA chairperson and president of the All India Congress Committee Sonia Gandhi and has requested her to solve the issue at the earliest.
In the height of last year’s agitation of trading community across the state against LBT, the Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC) has appointed a committee comprising of former municipal commissioner Subdoh Kumar as its chairman and former Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax Dilip Dixit as member assisted by Chandrasekhar Prabhu.
The committee has submitted a report on ‘Alternative sources of revenue as against LBT/octroi’.
The FAM has sought all political parties including Sonia Gandhi’s intervention for giving local trading community a level-playing field.

Indra Bhadra

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