Updated: June 30, 2021 10:20:37 pm
The Shiv Sena-led Standing Committee has stayed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to levy fire service and annual fees on builders and housing societies. Through the circular, the Mumbai Fire Brigade had planned to recover the twin fees from March 2014 retrospectively.
On Wednesday, corporators cutting across party lines opposed the administration’s move in a Standing Committee meeting. With BMC elections scheduled in February, they expressed fear of backlash from voters if the charges were imposed.
“The BMC had decided to charge Fire Service Fee since 2014 but they failed to collect the charges during the time of construction. Why did the BMC wake up so late? Now these charges will have to be paid by residents,” Shiv Sena Corporator Vishakha Raut said.
Congress corporator and opposition leader Ravi Raja said the BMC’s move will burden citizens. “During Covid-19, why the BMC wants citizens to face another financial burden and give relief to builders,” Raja asked.
BJP corporator Prabhakar Shinde has also opposed the move.
Committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav confirmed that owing to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on citizens, no tax or charges will be imposed on the people. “I have directed the civic administration to stay the circular. Due to Covid-19 people have lost jobs and are facing hardship to run their houses. We will not allow any hike of taxes till the Covid-19 is there,” he said.
Following this, Leader of the House Vishakha Raut moved an adjournment motion opposing the circular. The meeting was adjourned after the discussion.
Earlier, the Standing Committee had rejected the BMC administration’s proposal to hike property tax.
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