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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

East Indians demand property tax relief

mumbai Updated: Dec 04, 2019 00:35 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak

The East Indian community, who are among the original inhabitants of the city, have recently demanded property tax exemption for koliwadas, gaothans and tribal hamlets. The demands were made in letters to the municipal commissioner and chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Monday.

The community members said that though it has been an old demand, they approached the CM because his party had promised exemption and relaxation of property tax many times in the past. “Property tax exemption currently is only for houses less than 700 sq ft, but a 701 sq ft house at Madh will be valued at ₹ 22 lakh and a flat with the same carpet area at Malabar Hill stands at ₹4 crore. There cannot be a differential treatment. One needs to understand the income and spending capacity of the person and the community,” said Vivian D’Souza, president, Bombay East Indian Association.

“If the party has made poll promises for exemption of property tax, they should consider the original inhabitants of the city because the costs of maintaining our houses, most of which are heritage structures, are borne by us. Hence, there should be some kind of concession given to the community,” said Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of NGO Watchdog Foundation.

Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP), in the letter to the CM, stated that the benefits should be applied to the owners of the properties in these places prior to 1962 records and in places where the family continues to maintain ownership.

“As a community we have submitted our representation to the chief minister. Considering that the party has always stood by sons of the soil, we are hoping that our demands would be considered,” said founder trustee, MGP, Gleason Barretto.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had in July 2017 recommended the state government to waive off entire property tax for houses up to 500 square feet. However, the BJP-Sena led government just waived off a fraction of the tax, giving 10-30% of relief. Sena’s manifesto ahead of the state election had also promised property tax waiver for houses up to 500 sq ft.

Municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi was unavailable for comment. The East Indians are considered to be the original residents of the Bombay, Thane and Salsette islands.