The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Car fee rise round the corner

Calcutta, Nov. 17: Get set to fasten your seat belts tighter, if you own a vehicle. The cash-strapped Bengal government is considering a proposal to increase a range of fees on vehicle owners.

If the blueprint is cleared by the state Cabinet, the hardest hit will be those buying new cars. The state is planning to charge Rs 1,000 for each new car as “additional tax”.

It has also sought the Centre’s approval to raise the registration fee for such vehicles to 7 per cent of the cost from the prevailing flat rate of Rs 1,550 (see chart).

The proposal, covering every type of fee for hitting the road, is now lying before chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. An Ordinance will be issued once the Cabinet gives its approval — a matter of formality, say officials — and the new charges will to be effective from January 1. These taxes were last raised in 1991, they added.

“Why should the fee for a Maruti or an Ambassador be the same as that for a Hyundai Sonata or a Mitsubishi Lancer'” asked transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

“Besides, if a person has to pay 6 to 8 per cent of the cost of a property as registration fee, why shouldn’t a vehicle-buyer be made to do the same'”

The state government had recently raised stamp duty on property deals and court fees.

Officials said the Centre’s approval has been sought for hiking the registration fee, driving licence fee and road tax as they do not fall within the state government’s jurisdiction. “We hope the nod from Delhi comes soon,” a senior official said.

“The cost of everything has increased many times in the last 11 years; so have the fares of buses, trains and flight,” the transport minister reasoned.

“If a person can purchase a car or a taxi or a bus by spending several lakhs, I think he should be able to pay the enhanced fees,” Chakraborty added.

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