The Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC) has decided to waive off the annual property tax levied on the residents who suffered damages during the floods in July.
However, the residents have claimed that the list of beneficiaries prepared by the revenue department does not include those who had been running small businesses from their homes.
The decision to waive off the tax was taken during the General Body Meeting on Tuesday. The Shiv Sena, which had campaigned for the waiver, welcomed the decision. “We had been demanding this for a long time. After the floods, many people faced monetary and mental problems. Around 11,000 people will benefit,” said Sena’s Milind Chavhan.
“If someone has already paid the tax for this year, they will get a waiver for the next year’s taxes,” said Ramesh Lad, executive engineer of VVCMC.
“The municipal body is heavily dependent on the property tax as it is our main source of revenue. We have nothing else to give, and thus the waiver was the only option. The amount waived off will be ascertained once we get the list from revenue department. Our budget will have to be adjusted accordingly,” he added.
However, for Lakshmi and Aravind Kannojia, who ran a laundry on their rented accommodation, the news has brought only disappointment. “Not only was my wooden furniture damaged, several small items, like the iron and our utensils, were washed away in the floods. Everything I had gathered in the last five years was either rendered useless or washed away,” Aravind said.
“But we have not received any monetary help. The decision of waving property tax is of no use to me,” he added.
Kannojia is not the only one. The list also does not include several small-time businessmen — shopkeepers, beauticians, laundry men and others.
When asked about the omissions, a senior official said: “We are yet to get a list from the revenue department.
Once we get the list, we will be in a better position to identify the beneficiaries.”
“This is too little too late. But at least the municipal authorities have realised that they have to do something for the people,” said Yashwant Patil, a Vasai-based activist.
Between July 9 and July 12, incessant rain had caused massive flooding in Mumbai’s satellite cities of Vasai, Virar and Nallasopara.
While the water receded after five days, it affected the houses and industrial complexes, including the salt pan lands.