|June 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm #5760|
The panchayat maintains that AAI should pay the tax under section 153 of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act as AAI facilitates units to do business in and outside the airport premises, and for which AAI collects revenue.
The issue has picked up momentum again as the panchayat, through the Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho, will raise the matter in the joint meeting to be held in few weeks. The meeting will be attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and others.
“In every meeting I have raised this issue. It is the rightful demand of the Chicalim panchayat to collect tax from all units doing business inside the airport. However, the AAI claims that it doesn’t pay tax to local bodies.
Now, as we are all set for a crucial meeting, I will ensure that this issue is resolved,” said GodinhoAccording to the Chicalim sarpanch Rubina Rodrigues, the panchayat secretary had issued a notice to the AAI under section 84 of the Panchayat Raj Act to inspect the premises and assess the commercial units operating there. However, AAI officials challenged the notice before the panchayat director and also managed to obtain a stay on the notice.
The issue was forgotten soon after and AAI was listed as a non-revenue unit. “As we are facing a financial crunch, we decided to take up the issue before all possible authorities to ensure that the panchayat gets its dues from AAI,” said Rubina.Panchayat records reveal that the local body collects a little over Rs 90 lakh annually from different sources, including construction licenses, advertisements, and trade tax, and the amount is insufficient for developmental works.”Barge-building has virtually stopped.
There are hardly any units at the Murgao Industrial Estate, while the aviation fuel stations do not contribute to the panchayat even though thousands of liters of aviation fuel are consumed every day by the aircraft at Dabolim airport.
What hurts us more is that the panchayat doesn’t receive a single buck even though the airport is in the panchayat’s jurisdiction, but whenever there are issues of garbage or bird hits, we are the first to be blamed. We hope that the issue will be brought to a logical conclusion as early as possible,” said Nunes.
Meanwhile, Goa AAI Director K S Rao said, “We have the AAI Act, under which we are exempted from paying tax to the local bodies, and all such grievances can be dealt at a higher level in the ministry and not locally.”
Source/Reference: Herald, “Chicalim panchayat to raise airport tax issue at joint meet“