The civic standing committee has, for the second time, rejected the proposal to impose an additional fire protection fee on citizens. The proposed fee was meant to help the Mumbai fire brigade set up 26 new fire stations in the city over the next five years, which was estimated to cost Rs. 220.35 crore.
Refuting the need for an additional fee on citizens, Sena group leader Yashodar Phanse said, “For the 26 proposed fire stations, there is no proper plan in place.
There is no clarity on whether the plot of land is even available or not. Even the procurement process for new fire equipment has been slow-paced. How can citizens be taxed when there is no proper plan in place?”
Last year, the standing committee had rejected the proposal stating that citizens were already burdened with several taxes such as property and water taxes.
According to estimates by the Mumbai Fire Brigade, the proposed fee, which was to be imposed as per provisions of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006, would have generated revenue of Rs. 329.25 crore vis-à-vis expenditure of Rs. 281.06 crore, which would have to be incurred if the proposal was cleared in the standing committee.
“A fire tax already exists in the property tax component. So, why is there a need for an additional tax on citizens for fire services?” said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda.