All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers' Association (FAMPEDA) President Uday Lodh said that the government differentiates between other traders and fuel retailers. Petrol pump retailers have to pay LBT while other traders have been exempted from it.
Incidentally, the Maharashtra government had exempted traders having an annual turnover below Rs 50 crore from paying LBT across the state from August 1.
According to the government, more than 99 per cent of traders benefited from the decision. However, petrol and diesel retailers were not considered for LBT exemption, Lodh said. He alleged that the decision on LBT is in favour of traders and consumers have not benefitted from it.
"The money traders will save by not paying LBT will go to their pockets and will not be passed on to the consumers." Despite the LBT exemption, prices of various items have not been reduced, he alleged.
"If the state relaxes norms for petrol and diesel pump owners, it is the common man who will benefit, since reduced charges will be passed on to them," he said.
Considering gross annual revenue income of the last five years from 25 municipal corporations excluding Mumbai, the government will reimburse Rs 7,648.82 crore in lieu of LBT, which is not applicable to Mumbai, since octroi is still collected in the Mumbai civic body's jurisdiction.
"The state can reimburse more than Rs 7,000 crore to traders, it does not want to spend Rs 300 crore for petrol and diesel pump owners," he said.
"All meetings with Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and finance secretary Sudhir Srivastava were in vain. In fact, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis favoured LBT exemption for petrol dealers. However, nothing happened from the government's side," Lodh said.
Meanwhile, after abolition of LBT, the government has allocated Rs 2,048.44 crore as financial grants to municipal corporations by way of supplementary demands for 2015-16.