Nod for 9 crore waiver proposal for Taj hotel in Mumbai

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Dec 31, 2020 12:52 AM IST
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ByMehul R Thakker, Mumbai

The Shiv Sena-headed standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) passed a proposal to waive over 9 crore payable by Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, amid opposition from the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to the BMC’s proposal that was tabled in the standing committee on Wednesday, after the 26/11 attacks, Hotel Taj Mahal Palace occupied around 800sqm of public road and over 1,100 sqm of footpath for security purposes, for which over 10.18 crore is payable. Of the 10.18 crore, the BMC had proposed to waive around 8.85 crore for occupation of footpath as requested by the Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, citing that the exercise was being undertaken for security reasons and not for commercial purposes. For the remaining 1.33 crore, the BMC had proposed to give 50% waiver to the hotel. However, the opposition has alleged that the BMC is charging other commercial establishments despite similar purposes, and hence the hotel should not be given any waiver.

Hotel Taj Mahal Palace did not issue a comment on Wednesday. However, in a statement issued by the hotel on Tuesday, said: “Since there are multiple authorities and regulatory bodies involved, we continue to stay in constant dialogue with all of them, and will ensure compliance and implementation of appropriate measures suggested by them.”

Ravi Raja, Congress corporator and leader of Opposition in the BMC, said, “The Shiv Sena has become a party of the rich, as it does not give any waiver or relief to common man, but is giving relief to corporate houses and five-star hotels. The proposal was passed by the Shiv Sena without discussion and allowing corporators to speak. The Lokayukta has clearly asked the BMC to frame a policy on giving waiver, and in such scenario, how can we waive money for one hotel without any policy?”

Bhalchandra Shirsat, BJP corporator and standing committee member of the BMC, said, “The BMC or state government does not give any waiver to common man, but it is being given to big companies. The corporation did not pay salary to disabled employees citing cash crunch, and here it is giving a waiver of over 9.50 crore for no reason.”

Lalit Jain, civic activist from Colaba, said, “The BMC does not give any relief to the common man, and it should not give waiver to the five-star hotel. In the past, the BMC denied giving concession or waiver to Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) for using bollards and blocking access on advice of security agencies. I will challenge this in the court.”

Meanwhile, Yashwant Jadhav, Shiv Sena corporator and standing committee chairman, was not available for a comment.

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