Even as Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations gear up to implement the new Local Body Tax (LBT) from April 1,civic bodies have the task of deciding the fate of octroi staff and the infrastructure set up over the years to collect octroi. While officials said they would shift octroi staff to other departments,they are yet to take a call on infrastructure at their disposal that will be idle from April 1.
The management of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML),the citys transport service,has already staked claim to the octroi posts. PMPML,struggling to get space at cheaper rate to set up bus depots,termni or parking bays,wants both civic bodies to transfer the properties to them.
PMC has as many as 41 octroi posts,but proper infrastructure that includes a building is available only at six, said PMC octroi chief Vilas Kanade. PCMC has nearly 30 octroi posts but proper infrastructure is in place only at four, said PCMC octroi chief Ashok Munde. PMC has 650 octroi employees who worked at various octroi posts in Pune city. All of them will be absorbed in other civic departments, said Kanade. Munde said the 450 PCMC octroi employees will be transferred to other departments.
When contacted,PCMC Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi said PMPML has approached them seeking octroi buildings for setting up bus depots or termini. We have no problem if it will help them set up facilities for commuter conveniences or parking buses. But it will have to be approved by civic body members. We will place the proposal in the civic general body meeting, he said.
Incidentally,both the commissioners and mayors of PCMC and PMC are on the board of directors of PMPML and officials said this could help the transport body to get the properties transferred without much convincing.
PMPML spokesperson Deepak Pardeshi said if both civic bodies agree,the octroi properties which are at convenient locations will be of great help to PMPML. We are struggling to set up facilities due to lack of funds. If these octroi posts are transferred to us,we can set up termini, he said.
Significantly,he said,these octroi properties could also find use as CNG pumps or parking bays. The rising cost of fuel has hurt our expansion plans. If PMC and PCMC help us out,it will benefit the bus service in a big way, he said.
PMPML officials said they were certain PMC and PCMC would transfer the properties to them free of cost.
However,Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch said PMC and PCMC should transfer the octroi properties only with certain conditions. The primary condition is that PMPML will not hike fares for two-three years. This is logical since PMPML will be getting properties worth crores for free. We would urge PMC and PCMC to take it in writing from PMPML that it will not hike fares and will use the premises appropriately, he said.