BJP, Sena engage in a tug of war

Siddharth Gadkari
Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Sena wants property tax waiver for small tenements in Pune like Mumbai
 

Pune: One may say that what BJP is to Sena in Mumbai, Sena is to BJP in Pune. Sample this, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) bête noire Shiv Sena has yet again proved successful in forcing its rival in a tight spot by demanding to waive off property tax for tenements measuring up to 700 square feet.

This development surfaced after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a waiver of property tax of up to 700 sq ft households in Mumbai to score a point over ally Shiv Sena. Now, BJP has landed in a tricky situation as Sena has demanded exactly the same for Pune city.   

Earlier, in Mumbai, BJP had demanded to make singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ compulsory in all corporation schools and the demand was sanctioned by Shiv Sena in Mumbai. On the other hand, in Pune, a similar proposal was tabled by Shiv Sena. However, BJP after initially stalling this proposal, later agreed to give it a shot.  

On the similar lines, Shiv Sena had created a tricky situation for BJP in the city. Last year, Shiv Sena had also demanded waiving off property tax, but it was rejected. Moreover, the administration there had made a negative remark stating ‘it is not a practical one and it will lead to a major revenue loss’.

On Monday, Shiv Sena staged an agitation demanding implementation of the same decision for Pune city in favour of waving property tax for small households up to 700 sq ft. Sena corporator Prithviraj Sutar moved this proposal in the PMC General Body meeting and requested the State government to take a similar decision in Pune to provide relief to tax payers. 
In Mumbai, Shiv Sena during last civic polls had promised to waive off property tax for flats measuring less than 500 sqft. Sena won the polls and the civic body announced this decision and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too gave the nod to Sena’s decision. 

When asked, BJP”s Shrinath Bhimale, Leader of House, said, “Property tax is one of the major income sources of the corporation. When corporation is checking other income sources, it is not possible to waive off property tax of smaller households. It is not a practical decision. On the other hand, we are extending other benefits like insurance cover to taxpayers.” Bhimale added that it is not the need of the city as the PMC is already offering an exemption to property owners who install vermicomposting or solar panel.

Yogesh Mulik, Chairman of PMC Standing Committee, said, “We have not received any such proposal till date. When it comes, we will discuss and check its feasibility.”

Vilas Kanade, Head of Property Tax department said, “We cannot figure out the exact numbers of households measuring 700 sq ft in the city. But, they are in large numbers out of 8 lakh properties across the city. It will directly reduce our property tax collection by 50 per cent.”

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