The state government has been complaining about pending GST compensation from the Centre, but it has not cleared the BMC’s dues of over Rs 6,000 crore, said civic activists. Moreover, it has remained mum on the issue, they added.
In a recent report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India stated that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hasn’t received Rs 6,583.71 crore in aid and taxes from the state government.
Majority of the pending amounts are related to Housing, Public Health, Home, Education, Revenue and Forest, Public Works and Urban
Development departments of the state.
“BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal issued a letter to the additional chief secretary of the state’s Finance Department regarding the outstanding amount. In response, the deputy secretary in October 2021 stated, the ‘BMC needs to inform the concerned department for release of outstanding amount’,” read the CAG report, which was recently submitted to the BMC.
mid-day’s calls and messages to Chahal went unanswered.
A source from the BMC, however, confirmed about the pending dues from the state government.
In his budget speech for 2022-23, Chahal had said the BMC needed a sizable fund for “increasing liabilities of an ongoing project, obligatory duties…” To address this, he had proposed to raise Rs 4,998 crore through an internal loan.
Activists on recovery
Civic activists expressed their displeasure over the distinction in the BMC’s actions in collecting pending dues.
“The BMC took strict action against common people who failed to pay taxes. The BMC disconnected their water supply and electricity, and in some cases even attached their property. But when it comes to recovery of dues from the government authorities, the civic authority only sends letters,” said activist Godfrey Pimenta.
“Why does the BMC need to take out a loan to raise funds? They should focus on recovery of dues from the state government,” he added.
“The state government keeps complaining about the pending GST dues of about Rs 27,000 crore from the Centre. But it does the same thing [not pay the dues] with its local body. All these government agencies take lower bodies for granted. The local bodies need more power to take action against higher government authorities,” said Nikhil Desai, another activist.
Samajwadi Party MLA and former BMC group leader Rais Shaikh slammed the Shiv Sena, saying, “Whenever other parties are in power in the state, Shiv Sena raises the issue of dues. Now it is their turn. They are in power. Uddhav Thackeray, Sena president, is the chief minister. Shiv Sena now has a chance to easily pay the dues to the BMC.”
Amount state govt owes to the BMC
Break-up of the BMC’s dues
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General report, Rs 5,586.22 core is pending in grants-in-aid, Rs 989.89 crore in property and water taxes, and Rs 7.6 crore in rebate on various cess collected by the BMC for the state until July 2021.