Corporators from all opposition parties have come together to oppose the tax hike proposal to be tabled in the general body meeting of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Saturday.
Opposition parties including the Congress,BJP and Shiv Sena are making appeals to people to make their displeasure known to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporators. The opposition fears that the NCP,which has a stranglehold over the municipal corporation with 70 corporators in a house of 105,would pass the proposal.
Opposition party corporators alleged that the NCP and Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar were taking citizens for granted. They said no tax hike proposal would be passed in the general body meeting on Saturday without any discussion. It is likely that the tax hike proposal would be passed by the NCP,which would not need the support of opposition parties in passing the bill. A total of 20 corporators from the Congress,11 from the BJP and 5 Shiv Sena corporators have announced that they would vote against the tax hike proposal. Shiv Sena party leader Sulbha Ubale,BJP leader Ashok Sonawane and Congress corporators Machindra Tapkir held a press conference on Wednesday to clear their parties stand on the issue.
Ubale said,People are already burdened by the rising prices of essential commodities. At this juncture,it would not be wise to increase taxes. Instead of burdening the residents of the city with additional taxes,the municipal corporation should spend money prudently. Ubale said it is the responsibility of residents,social activists,women self-help groups to bring pressure upon the corporators representing their ward and bring pressure on them not vote in support of the hike.
Congress corporator Babu Nair said,Till now,the PCMC has hiked taxes in a phased manner; the ruling party should not act in an arbitrary way and put the burden of taxes on citizens. With a drop in octroi collections and increased spending on account of various development works undertaken by the corporation,it might be necessary to increase the tax rates. But before taking any such decision,the municipal corporation should stop increasing incidents of octroi thefts. Also,the PCMC should explain why the hike is necessary.”
BJP leader Ashok Sonawane said,”The BJP will oppose the tax hike as the PCMC and the ruling party is taxing the middle-class and sparing the rich. The current tax hike would get the municipal corporation additional revenue of Rs 25 crore. But PCMC has yet to collect Rs 100 crore tax and fine from alcohol sellers,which is due. Also,jewellers have defaulted the municipal corporation: the PCMC has to recover a large amount from them including the fine. If PCMC acts tough and recovers these dues,then the tax hike proposal can be postponed for a couple of years. Given the current scenario,it would not be wise to burden the residents with additional taxes.