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MLAs demand government to abolish octroi

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 5: Cutting across party lines, members of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today made a forceful demand to abolish octroi to boost trade and industry in the state.

The issue was raised through an adjournment notice by Raj Purohit (BJP) and supported by members from both the Treasury and the Opposition benches with the exception of Narsayya Adam (CPM), who opposed move to abolish octroi.

Mr Purohit said when VAT was introduced last year, Finance Minister had assured that octroi would be abolished.

''No where in the country does such a tax exist except 22 municipal corporations in Maharashtra. Trade and industry are shifting out of the state due to this retrogade tax. Around 500,000 traders are protesting at Azad Maidan in support of their demand'', Mr Purohit said.

Gopinath Munde of the BJP said despite agreeing ''in principle'', the government was delaying a decision in this respect.

He asked Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar to intervene and direct the government to make its stand clear on the issue immediately.

Shashikant Shinde, Ramesh Bang, Basheer Patel and Nawab Malik (NCP) supported the demand.

PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was an autonomous body and the corporators of Shiv Sena-BJP, which rules Asia's largest civic body, can call a special meeting to move a resolution demanding abolition of octroi.

''Other civic bodies may follow suit and it will help the government to find a way out. The government has decided in principle to take a decision. We are in favour of abolishing octroi. The decision is pending because we are working on ways to implement it,'' he said.


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