Pune: There seems to be no respite for commuters passing through the Pune Cantonment area as they will continue to pay the same Vehicle Entry Tax on their cars, buses and other heavy vehicles. No decision regarding lowering the VET was taken during the recently held General Body (GB) meeting which approved VET tender for 2014-2015 estimated to be worth Rs8.5 crore.
The tender has been awarded to Solapur Construction and Fabrication Private Limited. Seven firms had bid for the project, out of which only five managed to qualify for the final bid. The previous year's highest rate accepted by the board was Rs8.3 lakh.
The contractor is currently charging Rs 50 for a passenger bus, Rs 50 for a goods carrier including a truck, Rs 30 for a passenger car and Rs 30 for a three-wheeler carrying commercial goods.
Commerical vehicles passing through the jurisdiction of the cantonment board and its adjoining areas form a major chunk of business. The collection of commercial vehicle entry tax is one of the biggest sources of revenue income for the Board. As many as 13 entry tax collection toll boths have been erected within the cantonment limits collect VET which generates between Rs3-4 crore income for the Board.
The PCB administration including the elected members, have time and again claimed that VET charges help the Board increase the overall annual revenue. Activist Netraprakash Bhog who has taken up the cudgels against VET in the PCB said that it should be scrapped in the first place.
"I am once again going to write to the Modi government about the extortion happening through VET collection. The people are overburdened with taxes and can't be exploited anymore. Every year, the tender rates are going up but why are'nt the VET charges coming down?" he questioned.
Santosh Gaikwad, a car driver who regularly commutes via cantonment area said that he has found the charges to be too high. " There should be nominal charging. What is seen is that the there has been a deliberate attempt to increase competition, hike the tender value and as a result increase the VET fee at the cost of the citizens. We want a detailed investigation as to why the charges are not being lowered and fake analogies are given to the public to defend an exploitative system," he added.
1 Motor bus carrying passengers on hire: Rs50
2 Truck for carrying goods: Rs50
3 Advertisement Car / Light Commercial vehicle carrying passengers on hire: Rs30
4 Three wheeler, Auto-rickshaw, Tempo for carrying goods: Rs30.
5 Tractor with trailer for carrying goods: Rs20