Calcutta, July 30: A combative transport minister today met criticism over the second increase in taxes for motor vehicle owners within a month with the advice that those who cannot afford the increased rates need not travel by car. Instead, they should use public transport.
“If a person can buy and maintain a car worth Rs 800,000, a tax of Rs 3,000 is not too high. In fact, there is a section of people here who can afford to increase their property and lead a luxurious life, but problems only appear when a tax is levied. We do not have any mercy for them and I want to make it clear to all that pay road tax and own a car, otherwise travel by bus or tram,” said Subhas Chakraborty.
The West Bengal Additional Tax and One-time Tax on Motor Vehicles (Second Amendment) Bill, 2003, passed in the Assembly yesterday stipulates that the owner of a car (used in a private capacity or by a co-operative society) will have to pay a minimum tax of Rs 8,550 and maximum of Rs 15,300 (a one-time tax for five years). The amount will depend on the capacity of the car’s engine, from 900cc to 1500cc. Earlier, the tax depended on the car’s weight.
The tax for vehicles owned by a company or others will vary between Rs 9,900 and 18,000. Owners of air-conditioned cars will have to pay a special tax between Rs 4,000 and 10,000 depending on the capacity of engines, in addition to the normal tax.
Goods vehicle owners will have to pay an additional tax of 50 per cent of the normal tax.
For buses and minibuses, owners will have to pay tax at a rate of Rs 100 per seat and an additional Rs 50 per standing passenger. The bill says 50 per cent of the total seats will be treated as standing passengers.
Earlier, the tax for a private car was between Rs 2,835 and 8,100. This is the second time in a month — the earlier bill was passed on July 2 — that the government has hiked the rate.
Tax for commercial and other vehicles, including two-wheelers, have also been increased. Two-wheeler owners, however, will get some benefit from the new system. “Pay a one-time tax of Rs 1,560 and drive your two-wheeler forever. It is the highest amount and the rate will be less for old vehicles. At present, a tax of Rs 800 is collected from every two-wheeler owner and it is valid for 15 years. Those who have already paid the road tax of Rs 800, will get the benefit of the new system by paying the balance of Rs 760,’’ explained Prashant, joint secretary in the transport department.
Reacting sharply to a threat by the automobile lobby to boycott the new tax, Chakraborty said he knew how to collect tax. “According to motor vehicle rules, the defaulters will have to pay a cash fine. We have already increased the amount of the fine and will further increase it if necessary,’’ he said.