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Food tax aimed at aiding Pepsi: BJP

The state has invited bids to operate the West Coast Water Transport Project between Nariman Point and Borivli, apart from building seven jetties to facilitate the operation.

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Food tax aimed at aiding Pepsi: BJP
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While raising eyebrows over the last-minute withdrawal by an Independent for the Rajya Sabha elections recently, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Devendra Fadnavis has alleged that the candidate, an industrialist based out of Pune, was being offered a favour in the contract of the water transport project on the city’s west coast.

The state has invited bids to operate the West Coast Water Transport Project between Nariman Point and Borivli, apart from building seven jetties to facilitate the operation. While suspecting an understanding between ruling NCP and the industrialist, Fadanvis said the candidate was one of the bidders interested the jetties. “The two-part project is expected to escalate the cost far more than the estimated Rs750 crore,” alleged Fadanvis, while pointing a finger at the affordability of the project as the ticket of the ferry between Nariman Point and Borivli would be Rs450 minimum.

Further, Fadnavis also alleged in the state assembly that the tax-reduction on semi-processed and ready-to-cook food was done to favour certain companies like Pepsi, whose major share involves such a business. “On the one hand the housemakers are left to cry over the rising LPG prices  and inflation, while on the other the companies are being favoured by reducing tax on their products,” he said during a post-budget debate in the state assembly on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse alleged the budget to be nothing but the jugglery of figures by finance minister Ajit Pawar. “The sales tax collection in the current fiscal is estimated to be Rs50,000 crore, but the fact is that the department owes Rs12,000 crore to the traders towards returns. Similarly, Rs1,800 crore has been raked in from the windfall of the sales tax on hike in petrol and diesel prices, imposed thrice by the Centre in the past one year,” Khadse said.

Also, the Rs2,900-crore provision for the public works department was misleading, as most of it will be utilised for dues, implying that “there will be no funds left for repair works in the state”, said Khadse, while claiming the government’s “surplus budget” will turn into a deficit of nearly Rs3,000 crore by the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.

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