The Trinamul Congress-led board in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has fired its ‘water cannon’ at middle-class households and car-owners, seeking to harness an additional revenue of Rs 30 crore in the financial year 2003-04.
Mayor Subrata Mukherjee, in his budget proposal on Monday, decided to bring all house-owners paying Rs 1,600 or above to the CMC as annual property tax, under the water-tax bracket. The minimum annual water charge will be Rs 400 and cannot exceed Rs 1,800. “I prepared this tax structure in keeping with the water tax enactment of the state government,” the mayor said later.
Flaying the move to slap water tax on the basis of annual property tax paid by a house-owner, CPM leader of the Opposition Nirmal Mukherjee said: “The proposal smacks of a double standard. Mamata Banerjee had promised she would call a bandh if water tax is imposed. We want to know what she has to say now.”
Congress leader of the Opposition Sailen Dasgupta felt it was “unfair” to link water tax with property tax. “It is silly logic, that those who pay more as property tax also use more water.”
The mayor placed a budget proposal of Rs 767.75 crore, with a deficit of Rs 29.17 crore for the year 2003-2004 in the civic House. Debate and discussion on the budget proposal will be held on Wednesday and Thursday.
Chief of municipal finance and audit Abdul Ohid pointed out that the mayor had broken “all previous records” of revenue-earning in the past 50 years, mobilising Rs 307 crore from CMC sources alone.