The civic body has decided to increase water tax and also introduce a fire protection fee from April.
Taking advantage of its win in the just-concluded civic elections, the Shiv Sena-BJP ruled administration is set to implement a two-year-old proposal, with minor changes, to increase water tariffs in the city.
The civic body currently spends Rs11 for transportation of 1,000 litres of water from dams and on its purification, and supplies it at the rate of Rs2.25, Rs3.50 and Rs25 to chawls, residential complexes and hotels respectively. These rates will increase by 30-40% — to Rs3, Rs4.50 and Rs30. For three-star and above hotels, and aerated water factories manufacturing bottled water, the tariff will increase from Rs38 to Rs42.
Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner who is in-charge of the budget, which will include the revision, confirmed the proposal to increase water charges, but declined to comment on the details.
Mumbai has the second lowest water tariffs in the world. While 100 gallons (approximately 370 litres) of water costs Rs1.95 in the city, it is the cheapest in Buenos Aires at Rs0.49, and the most expensive in Copenhagen (Rs147.39).
Moreover, a new fire protection fee has been made compulsory under the new Maharashtra Fire Protection and Safety Act, and will be levied from April. The rate of taxation will vary and will be calculated on the area, age and the nature of the building.
Accordingly, the highest tax will be collected from commercial buildings like five-star hotels, commercial centers, while old and low-rise residential buildings will pay the lowest taxes.
“The tax that we have proposed will be used to upgrade the fire-fighting machinery of the fire brigade. The charges have been kept nominal and may be collected along with the property tax,” said a senior fire department official.
Both these taxes will be a part of the budget tabled by the municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar by March-end, and will need to be sanctioned by the newly elected standing and general body of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.