It has been more than a year since the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) stopped collecting an octroi on goods brought into civic jurisdiction, but the octroi posts located at all the entry points to the city still stand and remain unused. The revenue they provided from the renting out the premises for restaurants and photocopy and communication centres too has dried up, with no contractor eager to continue with the service and no response from any new agency.
The demand for restaurants and photocopy and communication centres was high when the octroi posts were used for collecting octroi on goods entering the city. The vehicles had to stop at the octroi post and the restaurants and centres got business from them.
“However, the introduction of a local body tax (LBT) has made the octroi post a location that serves merely to issue transit pass and the customers at these restaurants and centres has dropped drastically. Thus, those using the facility for business are not interested in continuing it. The PMC invited tenders to rent it again but no takers are there for it,” said Vilas Kanade, Joint Municipal Commissioner and incharge of LBT Department, earlier the octroi collection department.
He said the civic administration does not want facilities at the octroi post to remain unused as it was providing a revenue as well. “Those who used it till now are not interested in continuing to take it on rent so the civic administration has invited tenders. The rental has been fixed as per the policy of the PMC,” Kanade said, adding that the civic body is unlikely to get the rates fixed in the tender but was ready to rent it to whoever quotes the maximum amount.
“There has been no response to the five major locations that have been advertised to be rented out,” he said. The octroi post at Bhekrai in Phursungi, Aundh, Shewalewadi, Shindewadi and Balewadi are on the national highway but there is no response to them as well, Kanade said.
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Earlier, the PMC explored the possiblity of starting a transport hub at the octroi posts so that its proper and effective use can be done for the city. The civic administration had proposed allowing the place to be used for all public transport services, including state transport buses, private company buses, PMPML to use it as a station so that the traffic congestion in the city would be reduced by keeping the large buses from entering in the middle of the city.
However, the proposal did not get a favourable response from the private bus services, who said their business would get affected by running the service from the outskirts.