Shops close down in Pimpri-Chinchwad

Times of India
PUNE: Most shops and business establishments in Pimpri-Chincwhad remained closed on Thursday as traders participated in a bandh to protest collection of local body tax (LBT) from April 1. The Federation of Associations of Pimpri Chinchwad (FAPC), which had called the bandh, said the response was good. As many as 20 associations of cloth merchants, jewellers, builders, plastic manufacturers, scrap dealers, restaurants and hotels, fruit sellers, etc participated in the bandh. Meanwhile, a section of traders tried to disrupt a seminar, organized by the municipal corporation to clear traders’ doubts about LBT. The seminar was held at the Acharya Atre auditorium amidst heavy police security. A section of traders sitting in the gallery on the first floor of the auditorium raised slogans and threw water bottles, carry bags and waste towards the stage. Municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi, however, continued with the seminar. The auditorium was packed to capacity even after some of the traders walked out. MP Gajanan Babar, who is the president of the FAPC, addressed a group of traders outside the auditorium while the seminar was still on. At a press conference organized after the seminar, Pardeshi said, “The state government has taken a decision to introduce the LBT in all municipal corporations from April 1. People opposed to it must convey their grievances to the state and not to the civic body.” Registration of traders from Monday Separate arrangements have been made for registration of traders in all four zonal offices from Monday, said municipal commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi at a seminar organized on Thursday for sensitizing traders about the local body tax. Traders can also register their names with the octroi department at the PCMC main office building. Online registration can be done at the PCMC website Pardeshi said the civic body has prepared a booklet to guide traders about the application process and to know whether they will have to pay it or not. The software prepared by the civic body for registration is very user-friendly. The corporation will conduct more such seminars to create awareness about LBT and answer traders’ queries. On the request of the MCCIA, one such seminar will be conducted for industrialists and businessmen at MCCIA office in Bhosari on Friday at 2 pm. Assistant commissioner Ashok Munde said it was mandatory for traders to register for LBT within a month of its introduction. The form can be downloaded from the municipal website and can be filled in English or Marathi. Traders will have to pay registration charge of Rs 100 and provide necessary documents. “LBT, like octroi, is an entry tax. But the process for the payment is simpler than that of octroi. So, traders will find it easier. LBT will have to be paid twice a year,” Munde added. Answering traders’ queries, Munde said, “Civic officials can search the premises of traders only if they have written permission from the municipal commissioner. The traders do not have to pay LBT every time they bring goods into the city. They have to self-assess themselves and pay the requisite tax. If the traders do not pay the tax every six months, they will have to pay a fine of 2%.”