Whatever might be the equation of their parties at higher levels, political parties at BMC make their own rules. When corporators created mayhem over Chief Minister’s Vilasrao Deshmukh’s decision to scrap octroi, the Congress and BJP were on one side while the NCP and Samajwadi party members spoke in tune with the Sena corporators. The BMC administration is worried ever since Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has expressed the desire to scrap octroi. Not surprisingly this was a subject of heated debates and discussions at a recent meeting of the corporation. Congress and BJP corporators supported the proposal to scrap octroi and listed their reasons with NMTV News. However, the NCP and Samajwadi party and Sena corporators stated that octroi formed integral part of the BMC revenue and without working on increasing other resources, scrapping octroi could spell trouble for the BMC treasury. Sunil Prabhu says that Sena will come out on the roads; Samajwadi party’s Mohsin Haider says that BMC should not be compared to other corporations in this decision and NCP’s Riyaz Ahmed says that the democratic front will not scrap octroi without compensating the loss to BMC via a scheme. Some leaders sighted the example of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and how this corporation was now regretting the decision to scrap octroi. Even though the decision of scrapping octroi faces opposition at BMC from various factions, if the recent style of functioning of the state is anything to go by, the state will successfully scrap octroi just like it has scrapped ULC. Some sources reveal that the influential merchants lobby has convinced the Congress and BJP to scrap octroi and so while they battle on principles at the state and national level, they stand united on the subject of octroi in BMC. Another observation that has not gone amiss is that the CM VRD has promised BMC compensation for the Rs. 5000 Crores loss that it stands to face after octroi is scrapped. A decision that will benefit only the businessmen.
January 31, 2015