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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Pune Cantonment Board continues to charge ‘tax’ even as Centre scraps vehicle entry fee in Cantt areas

The Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) and the Dehu Road Cantonment Board (DCB), though, have scrapped the charges with immediate effect.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: January 11, 2022 8:14:04 am
PCB continues to charge ‘tax’ even as Centre scraps vehicle entry fee in Cantonment areasOfficials said the Directorate General of Defence Estates has not specified how it is going to compensate the Cantonment boards for the loss in revenue from the fees. (File)

Even as the Centre has scrapped levying of vehicle-entry fee on commercial vehicles on the terrain of various Cantonment boards, the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) continues to charge the vehicles, arguing that it has not received any such order from the Directorate of Defence Estates, which falls under the Ministry of Defence.

The Khadki Cantonment Board (KCB) and the Dehu Road Cantonment Board (DCB), though, have scrapped the charges with immediate effect.

“We have not received any letter for abolition of the vehicle entry tax. The KCB and DCB were levying vehicle entry fee and therefore, they must have received the directives. Since PCB along with the Cantonments in Aurangabad and Ahmednagar were levying vehicle entry tax and not fees, the order is not applicable to us. Hence, we will continue to collect the tax,” said Amit Kumar, chief executive officer (CEO) of PCB. Kumar, however, added, “We expect there will be another letter regarding discontinuation of the tax. As and when we receive the order, we will stop collecting the tax.”

Pramod Singh, CEO of KCB who also holds the charge of DCB, said, “We have immediately stopped collecting the fees in both the Cantonment areas. Before Covid, we used to collect Rs 16 crore annually. But during the Covid period, the amount had come down.”

Officials said the Directorate General of Defence Estates has not specified how it is going to compensate the Cantonment boards for the loss in revenue from the fees.

In a letter sent to Principal Director, Defence Estates, the Directorate General, Defence Estates, said, “It is observed that collection of vehicle entry fee by Cantonment boards by installing barricades, nakas and collection kiosks does not conform to the Government’s initiative towards smooth movement of goods and traffic, and impedes the efforts towards ease of living and ease of doing business. It has, therefore, been decided that collection of vehicle entry fee by Cantonment boards be stopped forthwith. The mechanism for seeking proportionate share from the State Government agency/municipality out of any such similar fees being imposed by them on entry of vehicles centrally may be considered suitably.”

Welcoming the directives, Domnic Lobo, former vice-president of Khadki Cantonment Board, said, “For long, the Cantonment boards were committing injustice on citizens. Despite the fact that the central government had emphasised that there should be no multiple taxes in the country, the Cantonment boards were defying the directives.”

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