The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Objections overruled, water tax on

Calcutta, Jan. 31: Come April 1 and people using water supplied by the civic bodies will have to pay up for the first quarter.

All domestic and non-domestic (commercial, industrial and institutional) consumers will have to pay the tax under the West Bengal Municipal (Levy of Fee for Supply of Water) Rules, 2002.

The levy is likely to pump in Rs 25 crore to the exchequer.

The government is persisting with the tax structure it had drawn up earlier despite opposition from a section of the Left Front. At its meeting on Tuesday, some of the front partners had demanded a reconsideration of the levy.

But urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya today said: “We were left with no option. The government spends more than Rs 110 crore annually to maintain filtered water supply to the 1.86 crore consumers in Calcutta and the municipal towns but gets only Rs 25 crore back. We hope the fresh charges will help us earn another Rs 25 crore.”

Now on, a house-owner will have to cough up between Rs 15 and Rs 120 every month, in accordance with the property tax he pays. The new levy would be collected from only those who pay property tax, Bhattacharya said. “As we are not in a position to instal water metres, the tax will be collected on the basis of the property tax,” he added.

Those paying an annual property tax of more than Rs 750 will have to pay Rs 120 every month. Those paying an annual property tax of up to Rs 100 will have to pay Rs 15 per month. People paying Rs 101 to Rs 300 annually will have to pay Rs 25 per month and those paying Rs 301 to Rs 500 will have to give Rs 40 per month. Those paying between Rs 501 and Rs 750 will have to cough up Rs 70 every month.

The minister said the municipalities could impose taxes at higher rates at different slabs not exceeding Rs 120. While the domestic bulk consumers, comprising members of co-operative societies, will have to pay Rs 3 per 1,000 litres, non-domestic consumers will have to pay Rs 10.

For commercial, industrial and institutional users, the tax will depend on the size of the ferrule. Those using a ferrule measuring up to 10 mm will have to pay taxes between Rs 150 and Rs 450. A ferrule between 10 mm and 15 mm will attract a levy between Rs 250 and Rs 1,000 per month. For ferrules 15 mm to 20 mm, the tax will be between Rs 1000 and Rs 1500. A 20-25 mm will be charged at Rs 2,000 per month.

Municipalities effectively implementing the new tax structure will be offered incentives.

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