Water tax hike may be watered down | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Water tax hike may be watered down

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2012 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

If the civic standing committee gives the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) administration the nod on Wednesday, you will have to pay more for the water you use and the sewage you generate. If you live in an old building in south Mumbai, you may also have to pay more property tax.

The BMC has tabled two proposals before the committee, one asking for a 14% to 57% hike in water charges, and the second, for a revision of the property tax system.

However, strong political opposition to the water tariff hike is likely to ensure that the hike is not as drastic as proposed, said insiders. "As for the new property tax system, it is likely to be deferred yet again," sources said.

Both proposals are expected to face opposition from corporators across all parties. Wary of adverse public reaction, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance is opposed to the water tariff hike and is negotiating with the civic administration to lower the proposed tariff. The alliance is also likely to dismiss the proposal to hike water and sewerage charges by up to 8% a year.

Rahul Shewale, chairman of the standing committee, said: "We are against hiking the water tariff as proposed in the budget. We will ask the administration to revise and reduce the rates so that the hike does not hurt the common man."

Dilip Patel, the BJP group leader, also insisted that the hike cannot be so high. "We have demanded that the rates be reduced for residential and slum properties. We don't mind the hike for commercial properties," he said, adding that instead of drastic hikes, the BMC should focus on improving its bill collections.

The civic chief, in his budget speech, had referred to how various state departments owe the BMC nearly Rs 1,600 crore.

"If the committee does not agree to these rates, we will have to renegotiate and reduce the proposed water tariff, but we can't do without the hike this year," said a civic official, requesting anonymity.

All indications are that the corporators will dither over the proposal to bring in the new capital value-based property tax system.

The standing committee has rejected an older proposal and has been delaying the approval of the new system ever since it was tabled in November 2011.