GST in, but will scrapping octroi make Mumbai vulnerable?

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With the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will scrap octroi.

Octroi is BMC’s largest source of revenue generating almost Rs7,000 crore every year. Each goods vehicle entering the city had to stop at check posts, declare what goods were being carried and pay octroi accordingly. At times, the octroi staff used to check the vehicle if they suspected the driver was misleading them.

Although the business community complaint the check-post system delayed movement of goods into the city, it provided a screening of sorts of goods being brought into the city.

With no octroi, doubts are being raised about the security of the city.

During the special session of the Assembly to pass the GST bill, senior Shiv Sena legislator and former city mayor Sunil Prabhu said allowing goods to enter the city without checks would make it vulnerable.

The Mumbai police now plan to step-up the security at the nakas.

There are five octroi nakas in the city – three in Mulund (T ward), two in Dahisar (R North ward) and one in Mankhurd (M/East ward) – which serve as entry points to thousands of trucks.

Speaking to HT, Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (law and order), said, “Constables are posted at the nakas. We will augment the security. We are working on a scheme with the state government, which is under consideration.”

With the government passing the GST bill last week, it is all set to roll-out starting July 1.

Senior civic officials from the BMC said vehicles entering the city will not be checked post the roll-out. A senior civic official said, “GST also means seamless movement of goods and services. It has been implemented all over the world.” Security is a law and order issue, he pointed out.

While the BMC plans to turn these octroi nakas into central business districts (CBD), as marked in the Development Plan (DP) 2034, it is yet to make any progress in the front.

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