New taxes likely in BMC budget today

  • Poorvi Kulkarni and Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 04, 2015 00:54 IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the country’s richest civic body, will announce its budget today, but it may not make any big-ticket announcements. While a few infrastructure projects are likely to be announced, BMC chief Sitaram Kunte is set to also introduce new taxes.

Senior civic officials told HT that a new city-level cultural festival, along the lines of famous international festivals such as the Edinburgh festival, is also likely to be announced. “We wish to highlight the city’s cultural vibrancy through this,” said an official, adding the events will showcase the city’s legacy of theatre, language, films and culture.

The civic body is set to announce new taxes such as the transport cess and the solid waste management cess. The taxes would be in anticipation of the Centre rolling out the goods and services tax (GST), which will phase out Octroi — BMC’s independent and highest revenue generator.

The BMC may also announce the formulation of a new cultural policy to encourage and invest in showcasing the city’s cultural activities.

Kunte is likely to make allocations for two big city projects — the coastal road and the Goregaon-Mulund link road being planned through Aarey Milk Colony. Civic officials said Kunte is set to allocate Rs200 crore to Rs300 crore for both the road projects, in order to kick-start preliminary work.

Kunte may launch a new mission to rejuvenate and develop the city’s rivers. The project, aimed at the city’s four rivers — Mithi, Poisar, Dahisar and Oshiwara — will aim at developing the city’s rivers in a holistic way, said sources.

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