Vinod Tawde, leader of opposition in the legislative council, has alleged that the state government lost Rs650 crore after contracts for stamp duty franking were awarded, without inviting tenders, to companies owned by sons of two former chief ministers.
However, Tawde did not name either the former chief ministers, or the actual beneficiaries.
Tawde also alleged that a tender for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) was allegedly floated to favour a certain company and was cleared within two days. The company in question, Tawde said, had been formed to build free houses for slum-dwellers in the city.
“In whose pockets has this money on stamp duty contracts gone? Why the hurry to clear the TDR tender,” Tawde asked the government, while initiating a debate on the budget in the upper house of the state legislature.
“Averting this could have helped the government save several crores, which could have been passed on to the common man who is burdened by price rise,” Tawde said.
In the budget for the year 2012-13, state finance minister Ajit Pawar has hiked various taxes to generate a revenue of Rs 600 crore. One of the budget proposals — imposing 5% Value Added Tax on LPG cylinders — has met with strong opposition from political parties.
Tawde said the budget had fooled Mumbaikars. “The Centre gets Rs 10,888 crore in the form of taxes from Mumbai. But in the state budget, it has not even set aside 0.1% of that amount, which is a tragedy,” he said.
He said that in the budget, the government has shown the money put in by the MMRDA as its own, despite it being a separate authority. “The worst part is that [the government] has listed the western waterway project in the [budget] speech, but has allocated only Rs 20,000 as its share for the project,” he said.
Tawde also raised a stink over the failure of the government to update its finance department’s website after the budget had been presented.
He also pointed out that two industrial townships that were announced for Maharashtra in the Central budget, did not find any mention in the state budget.