Hoping to crack down on octroi evaders, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has written to the Mumbai police asking for personnel at its octroi nakas to assist in collections. The civic body already has its own guards posted at the nakas.
A senior official of the assessment and collection department said, “There have been times when our inspectors have been abused by those caught for octroi evasion. They also try and intimidate us with weapons. So, it is imperative that we have police cover while fighting octroi evasion.” A few years ago, a civic octroi officer lost his life after being attacked while he fought octroi evaders.
Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota confirmed that a letter had been written. “In addition to security, police presence at our nakas will ensure there is a sense of discipline among heavy vehicle drivers who come there.” Jalota said speeding drivers were a problem, especially during the night. “How do our officials single-handedly stop speeding drivers while they try to evade paying octroi? Police presence will ensure this doesn’t happen,” he added.
Even though security remains a major issue, officials admitted that such steps would help improve its collections from octroi tax. The BMC’s coffers are heavily dependent on octroi collections, which remain its single largest revenue churner. Jalota agreed, “If we have more discipline at our octroi nakas, it would mean more vehicles coming into our nakas, and ultimately generate more octroi for us.”