Shift to local body tax raises security concerns at octroi nakas

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Security at major entry and exit points to the city could be a cause for concern with BMC shutting down octroi nakas as it shifts to a new local body tax (LBT) regime from October 1.

At present, BMC has a full-blown vigilance squad at its five octroi nakas in Dahisar, LBS Marg, Eastern Express Highway, Mulund-Airoli and Vashi. Several

"At present, our staff and vigilance squad keep a strict vigil on trucks and other goods coming into the city and ensure security," said Shyam Jadhav, joint assessor collector (octroi). Once the nakas are phased out, the movement of goods in and out of the city — which could be a security concern — will no longer be in the hands of the civic administration, he added.

The 'check nakas' have highly beefed up security as every truck has to pass through its scanners and vigilance squad, said a BMC official, explaining that the whole process is recorded on CCTV cameras. The CCTVs have helped keep an eye on the vehicles evading octroi as well as officials involved in this. Also, vigilance squads make surprise rounds.

Around 10,000 vehicles enter the city through the five octroi checkpoints every day. The turnover at each check post is approximately Rs 2 crore on an average day.

Octroi is is collected in cash on daily basis. LBT, on the other hand, is a lumpsum amount charged on the value of goods every month. While octroi is charged every time goods are imported, LBT is an account-based regime wherein traders and businessmen will be responsible for monthly payments by way of self-declaration.

BMC has already initiated a study with the help of Mumbai University's department of economics and Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) to help it implement the new tax system effectively.

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