Octroi 'nakas' fade into history

Octroi 'nakas' fade into history

Octroi 'nakas' fade into history
Huge queues along the Octroi check 'nakas' in Mumbai would be a thing of the past as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has come into force.

The five Octroi nakas were a sort of landmarks for the financial capital of India. Besides, they have been the biggest revenue earners for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), one of the biggest civic bodies in the country.

Octroi has also been a political issue for Mumbai and whosoever in power in the corporation ensured that it generated more revenue. Besides, there were also reports of rampant corruption.

For BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta it is now a major challenge on how to utilise the infrastructure that gave close to Rs 7,000 crore annually and employed more than 2,000 people. These employees would be absorbed in other departments of the BMC, but there are others who are indirectly employed — loaders and nearly 3,000 licensed and unlicensed agents. Octroi has been in force in Mumbai since April 1, 1964.

The five octroi nakas — Mumbai-Panvel Highway (Mankhurd), Eastern Express Highway (Mulund East), Western Express Highway (Dahisar), Mulund-Airoli Link Road Naka (Airoli) and Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg Naka (Mulund) — would now be used for some other purposes. 

“As soon as President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed the button heralding GST, we stopped collecting Octroi,” a top source involved in Mumbai’s Octroi collection, told DH. The department, however, will remain operational for some time as they have to clear pending cases and disputes.

As far as the use of these nakasare concerned, the assistant municipal commissioners of 24 wards have been asked to give their inputs. What the BMC has in mind is to create bus terminus, parking plazas or small business hubs, BMC officials said.

Liquor and dining

For the hotel and restaurant sector, the last eight months have been tumultuous - starting with demonetisation that came out of the blue, then the Supreme Court ban on the sale of liquor within 500 metres of National Highways and State Highways, and now the changeover to the Goods and Service Tax regime.

With people relying more on unverified social media messages than what has appeared in newspapers and TV channels, it is adding to the confusion. However, the scenario that has emerged is that liquor prices remain stable but food is going to cost a little more.

Petrol, diesel, liquor, tobacco and aviation fuel is out of the purview of GST, said Mankoskar Surendrakumar Chandrakant Rao, Additional Commissioner, Central Excise & Service Tax, Pune. “There should not be any confusion on this and the rates were announced earlier, quite in advance,” he said, adding there would be State Excise on liquor as it used to be earlier. For dining it would be 12% in non-AC restaurant and 18 % in an AC restaurant. 

“We hope that in the next 15 days things would in order,” Rishi Puri, vice president, Lords Hotels & Resorts, told DH.
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