There’s hope for those who are opposed to the new property tax system the civic body has put in place. Stung by the negative response from citizens, activists, associations and experts, the Shiv Sena, which is the ruling party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, on Sunday said it is willing to consider a rollback.
The announcement comes just three days after the much-delayed system was approved by the civic standing committee.
As reported in HT, the new system plans to tax Mumbaiites as per the built-up area of their flat – this includes their building basement, their stilt and podium parking, the society office and the refuge floor, among other spaces – instead of their flat’s carpet area, which is the area they occupy, though, according to the state government, it illegal to sell or buy a flat as per its built-up area.
Rahul Shewale, senior Sena leader and chairman of the civic standing committee, said: “Though we have approved it, we are willing to consider a rollback and an amendment in the rules and rate of taxation if we feel that citizens are aggrieved by this new system.”
Activists who had opposed the new system even before it was approved said they had written to the three-member committee appointed by the BMC for receiving suggestions and objections to the policy, but alleged that the standing committee had then chosen to ignore their objections.
“We have given a conditional approval to this system to ensure that there is always a window to reconsider it,” said Shewale, adding that he is open to meeting citizens and experts opposed to the new property tax system. “Citizens can air their grievances. We will consult them. It is within the standing committee’s powers to amend proposals it has approved. We can re-open the policy and make amendments to suit citizens.”
Civic officials said the new policy could be amended by the general body of corporators too, if they wished to do so. “Now that the standing committee has approved the policy, the general body has to give its clearance. If parties decide, they can make amendments even now,” said an official from the municipal secretary’s department.