Mira Bhayandar: With Rs 51 crore tax dues, MBMC on radar for going soft on cell tower firms

The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has two completely different yardsticks when it comes to recovering taxes from the common man as compared to the default mobile tower operators who saddle the civic body with multi-crore arrears.

The issue has been raised by leader-of-house, Prashant Dalvi (BJP), who has alleged rampant corruption prevailing in the civic body.

As per official records, out of the total 718 mobile towers installed across the twin-city, 176 towers are yet to get official permission under the standard norms and guidelines of government authorities, while some who were granted permission have failed to re-validate their annual contract.

In the current fiscal year, the MBMC is yet to recover more than Rs 51.31 crores including penal interest from 718 towers mobile towers including 176 which have been tagged as an illegal inviting penalty in the form of triple taxation.

“The original tax amount is being duly paid, however, the mobile tower operators are reluctant to pay penalty and triple tax on the virtue of judicial respite. Moreover, four agencies claimed to have dismantled 58 mobile towers.” said a tax officer.

“While the common man faces punishment including disconnection of water lines for the delay in tax payments, the influential telecom agencies are being given a kids-glove treatment. This clearly smacks of large scale corruption. Moreover, the legal department continues to remain in slumber,” alleged Leader of the House Prashant Dalvi who has demanded a GIS survey to ascertain the actual number of mobile towers.

Mobile operators have to submit documents, including structural stability certificate, permission from the telecom department, and NOC’s from societies to secure an official nod from the town planning wing which claims to have permitted 178 towers and issued demand notes to 105 operators.

On the other hand, the operators have handed over a list of 150 towers which despite being non-functional were still under the tax ambit.

Notably, several operators have moved the judiciary seeking deemed permissions restraining the civic body from carrying out any immediate action. Some towers which have been installed on unstable structures have posed a serious threat to lives of people, sources said.

Different Yardsticks

“While the common man faces punishment including disconnection of water lines for the delay in tax payments, the influential telecom agencies are being given a kids-glove treatment. This clearly smacks of large scale corruption. Moreover, the legal department continues to remain in slumber,” alleged Leader of House Prashant Dalvi who has demanded a GIS survey to ascertain the actual number of mobile towers.

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