Corporators burn down move to hike fire service tax

Corporators on Tuesday yet again struck down Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration proposal to increase fire service tax.

The proposal sought to introduce a fire service fee on buildings from the next financial year, and was expected to rake in a whopping Rs 330 crore annually.

The fee, which was to be calculated on area and type of building, was placed before the standing committee last year, too, but was rejected by corporators uniting across party lines.

Yashodhar Phanse, Shiv Sena corporator and group leader said, "The civic administration has still not started the new 26 fire stations and ancillary services. Already, citizens are being charged high taxes and we cannot permit a further increase".

The new fire tax, based on recommendations of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, was to be implemented for residential buildings, hotels, educational buildings, hospitals and commercial complexes.

At present, buildings are charged an annual fire protection fee of 1 per cent.

According to the proposal, the fire protection fee was to be independent of scrutiny fee and charged to the developer on completion of a project before issuing a No-objection Certificate (NOC) for occupation.

The fire brigade's expenditure for the next fiscal is expected to cross Rs 281 crore.

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