Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday assured a delegation of Opposition legislators that local body tax, which is set to replace octroi, will not be implemented in Mumbai from October 1 and that the state government would not issue an ordinance in this regard.
The tax would come into force only after the state legislature approves the law, Chavan said.
Most civic corporations in the state, barring Mumbai, already have LBT in place of octroi. The introduction of LBT has been delayed in the city because traders and many political parties are opposed to it.
Between May and June, traders went on a month-long strike protesting against LBT on the grounds that it would increase corruption and result in their harassment by civic authorities. Last week, traders once again went on a two-day agitation, objecting to the state government’s stance on LBT.
The government has set up a committee of bureaucrats and traders to thrash out a solution and help it draft rules and regulations for the new regime.
Sources in the government said the new bill concerning LBT would be placed in the winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur and the new tax would be introduced by April 1, 2014.
Vinod Tawde, Opposition leader in the Council, said he expected Chavan to keep his promise. “We want to debate the new law [which will be an amendment to the existing law pertaining to the Mumbai civic body] so that the scheme benefits all,” the senior BJP leader said.
Traders have welcomed the state government’s move to delay the implementation of LBT and have demanded that the coordination committee chalk out a feasible alternative.
“We want the state to honour its word that the joint committee would sit together and work out an amicable solution,” said Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.
“We are not against paying tax, but we don’t want another authority with unlimited powers to harass us,” he added.