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Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation was given today a Rs 647.34 crore cheque by state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar as the first tranche of the GST compensation amid sloganeering by the feuding allies Shiv Sena and BJP workers.
The cheque was handed over in a function held at the BMC headquarters in south Mumbai and attended by several leaders of BJP and Shiv Sena, including its chief Uddhav Thackeray.
When Mungantiwar was presenting the cheque, BJP corporators and party workers started chanting "Modi-Modi," prompting the Sena camp, which is at the helm of affairs in the BMC, to raise counter-slogans.
With the GST roll-out, the BMC, said to be the Asia's richest civic body, will be losing out around Rs 7,000 crore revenue that it collected through Octroi annually.
Mungantiwar handed over the cheque to Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and civic chief Ajoy Mehta. Maharashtra ministers Subhash Desai, Ramdas Kadam and Diwakar Raote of Shiv Sena, Vidya Thakur of BJP were also present at the event.
"The state government will go beyond the rules and do every bit for the sake of Mumbai," Mungantiwar said.
"We are thankful to Shiv Sena, which set aside its political differences and supported us on the GST for the economic betterment of the state and the country. If need be, we would release more money going beyond rules," he added.
In his address, Thackeray suggested that the government must take a review and weed out the initial impediments in implementation of the new tax regime.
"The government must conduct periodic review of the newly-introduced GST and remove hurdles in its roll-out, so that common people don't face unnecessary problems," he said.
Meanwhile, BJP corporator and party spokesperson Atul Shah played down the sloganeering incident saying, "Both the parties are striving for the betterment of Mumbai, which is good for the city."
"BJP corporators are very happy that our government has come out with the new (tax) policy and a cheque was handed over to the civic body today. So our buoyant corporators celebrated the successful implementation, just when the Sena corporators also raised slogans. You can term it as a credit-war, but it is good for the people of Mumbai city."
From July 1, the Goods and Service Tax (GST) has replaced the octroi system, which was the biggest source of revenues for the country's biggest and richest municipality -- BMC. As per the rules prescribed in implementing the GST, the state government would compensate to the civic bodies for the loss of revenue.
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