After taking over octroi and toll tax collection from respective contractors last month, Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is set to revise octroi and toll tax fee. The proposal is being put up for approval in the board meeting tomorrow.
The move to revise the fee, the most important revenue for the SCB, comes a month after it had cancelled the annual contracts allotted to two persons on July 16 on charges of fleecing excess fares from the citizens.
Since then, employees from engineering, health and sanitation and other wings have been deployed at entry and exit points to the Cantonment to collect the taxes even as other citizen services, including issue of birth and death certificates, collection of property tax, sanitation works etc got hit.
SCB officials claim that the hike would only be marginal but would be made applicable for a whole lot of articles like grains, flour, cement, iron and steel etc. “Existing octroi and toll tax rates are prescribed in 1974 and 1956 and are abnormally low compared to present market rates,” points out a Board member. Contractors' bag octroi and toll tax contracts investing lot of money and to recover investments they resort to over charging as the present tax rates are very low, he explains. Every year, SCB invites bidders for octroi and toll tax contracts. It had allotted octroi collection rights for Rs. 6.03 crore to for Rs. 6.40 crore for the year 2011-12. These contracts have been cancelled thrice in the last three years, following complaints of excess tax collection by contractors.
And each time the contracts were terminated, the Cantonment staff was given additional duties of collecting tax at the 14 check posts despite staff crunch. “If the board increases the octroi and toll tax, over charging by contractors can be controlled. The new rates would be applicable in the new contracts likely to come into force from next month,” says the Board member.