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CAMIT delegation meets Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, discusses problems faced by business community

CAMIT delegation during its meeting with Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

A delegation of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) led by President Dr Dipen Agrawal recently met Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut during his two-day visit to Nagpur. The meeting happened in presence of MLC Dushyant Chaturvedi and Nagpur Shiv Sena Mahanagar Sanghatak Vishal Barbate.

Agrawal welcomed Raut with floral bouquet and submitted memorandums highlighting the three most problematic issues haunting business community: 1) exorbitant hike in rent by corporations and their coercive action, 2) harassment by local body tax department across the state under the garb of assessment and 3) action on MSME by NMRDA. Agrawal also pitched for setting-up Refinery and Petrochemical Complex (RPC) in Vidarbha.

Agrawal further requested Sanjay Raut to use his office to impress upon the state government to recommend to the union government, support and assure to give all necessary clearance in time bound manner for mega Refinery and Petrochemical Complex in and around Nagpur in Vidarbha region. Raut assured the delegation that he will discuss the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and do his best to take the proposal ahead.

Wahab Parekh and Sanjay Nabira from NMC Market Federation said that after persistent follow up and persuasion by CAMIT, state government recently stayed the operation of notification dated 13/09/2019 wherein municipal corporations were directed to collect 8% of market value as annual rent. Government also constituted a committee of government officers to review and fix rent afresh. Now it is being said that the said notification in question does not apply to the licensee Galedharak and that a lease holder is on better footing that that of a license holder.

Raut was informed that lease holder enjoys greater benefits than as compared to license-holder, as the former would be paying less rent (about 2%) whereas the latter enjoys lesser benefits as he would be paying higher rent (about 4% in Nagpur and about 8% in other corporations). They requested Raut to intervene and impress upon state government to notify that the licensee Galedharak are covered under the 13/09/2019 notification or alternatively notify similar rules for licensee Galedharak and tenants.

Shivpratap Singh (President, The Nagpur Itwari Kirana Merchant Association) said that the first notification declaring 5 km area touching outer limits of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) as Nagpur Metro Region was issued in 1999 and thereafter the Metro Region limit was increased to 10 km before notifying the present limit of 25 km from boundary of NMC. Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) was notified as Special Planning Authority for Nagpur Metro Region limits in 2010. NIT passed resolution for preparing development plan for Metro Region in 2012 and published Draft Development Plan (2012-2032) calling objection and suggestions, in 2015. In the meantime, state government established Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA) in 2017. In 2018 Final Development Plan (2012-2032) for Nagpur Metro Region was sanctioned and notified.

Singh further submitted that after a sizeable survey of Nagpur Rural, it was learnt that majority of units i.e. 59% were established before 2012 NIT resolution and 85% of them were established before the first publication of 2015 Draft Development Plan (2012-2032). Hence, it is unjust on part of NMRDA to expect these units to maintain the margins prescribed in DCR (2012-32). Almost every unit following the then prevailing procedure obtained Non-Agriculture (NA) Order from concerned tehsildar and sanction for building plan from concerned gram panchayat. The units in good faith have taken these permissions from them and further submitted to other government agencies to process their applications. Singh requested Sanjay Raut to take-up the issue with government and impress upon them to notify that the MSME units established prior to 06/01/2018 (the date on which the DCR 2012-2032 for Nagpur Metropolitan Region was notified) should be saved from the provisions of the said DCR.

Ashok Sanghvi and Girish Liladia, said that practically Local Body Tax (LBT) was abolished from 31/07/2015 i.e., FY 2015-16. As per LBT Rules 2010, the last date for assessment for FY 2015-16 is 31/03/2021. LBT officers have indulged in 100% assessment of regular LBT cases, whereas LBT Rules provide for assessment only in certain contingencies only. It goes without saying that 100% assessment of regular LBT cases by department is nothing but a tool in the hands of officers to harass and extort the business community. They further informed that department is passing ex-party (best judgement) orders raising inflated & fictitious tax demands and using them to justify continuance of LBT Department. In some case’s back-dated assessment orders for previous years have been issued by department. Records from LBT Appellate Authority will evidence the correctness of our statement. They requested Sanjay Raut to take-up this issue with Government of Maharashtra to close LBT Department in all Municipal Corporations with immediate effect to ensure ease of doing business in the state.

Raut, after a patient hearing, assured to speak to Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde and keep a meeting of stake holders with the minister. He also assured his presence in the said meeting to resolve the issues to work towards the satisfaction of the business community.

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Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2022: Tathastu Resorts in Pench placed among top 10% hotels in world

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View of one of the rooms at Tathastu Resorts in Pench

Travel company ‘Tripadvisor’ has rated Tathastu Resorts, situated at Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, amongst the top 10% hotels in the world. Every year, Tripadvisor recognizes businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to hospitality excellence with a ‘Travellers’ Choice Award’ and Tathastu has made it to this list for the third consecutive year. The award celebrates businesses that have received great traveller reviews from guests around the globe on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months. As challenging as the past year was, Tathastu stood out by consistently delivering positive experiences to their guests.

Speaking about the recognition, Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor, said: “The Travellers’ Choice Awards recognize the best in tourism and hospitality, according to those who matter most: your guests. Ranking among the Travellers’ Choice winners is always tough but never more so than this year as we emerge from the pandemic. Whether it’s using new technology, implementing safety measures, or hiring outstanding staff, I’m impressed by the steps you’ve taken to meet travellers’ new demands. You’ve adapted brilliantly in the face of adversity.”

Tathastu Luxury Resort in Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh is spread over lush 15 acres featuring 59 state-of-the-art Rooms, equipped with a banquet hall. The resort’s close proximity from Nagpur ensures smooth connectivity from all major cities of the country. It also has an in-house spa and wellness centre, a temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool, an art centre and a range of activities making it the perfect getaway for families and corporates to plan their trips and events.

To know about Tathastu Resorts, you may visit www.tathasturesorts.com or call on 9765550607

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MIHAN-SEZ Commissioner, trade leaders form Business Advisory Committee, conduct 1st meeting

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From left: Dipen Agrawal, Suresh Rathi, Dr V Sraman, Shivkumar Rao, Julfesh Shah and Manohar Bhojwani during BAC’s meeting

The first meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) for MIHAN – Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was held in Nagpur on April 26. BAC was constituted recently with Dr V Sraman (Development Commissioner, MIHAN SEZ)) as Chairman, and Dr Dipen Agrawal (President, Chamber of Association of Maharashtra Industry & Trade), Julfesh Shah (Chairman, Nagpur Chapter of Chamber of Small Industry Associations), Manohar Bhojwani (CEO, Diet Foods International), Shivkumar Rao (President, Vidarbha Economic Development Council) and Suresh Rathi (President, Vidarbha Industries Association), as co-committee members.

During the meeting, Dr Dipen Agrawal suggested that BAC should work on three fronts simultaneously:

1) to reach out to present investors/units and on priority resolve the problems faced by them
2) different regions have different problems hence committee should endeavor to study and propose region specific practical policy modification for MIHAN-SEZ to government and
3) to review the marketing strategy to promote the project so as to attract new investments in MIHAN.

Julfesh Shah informed that the committee members are of the opinion that it is important to attract large companies to MIHAN rather than go after small-scale units. Manohar Bhojwani said that MIHAN is a place that offers world-class infrastructure, and yet manufacturing units shy away from setting up their plants there. Bhojwani opined that this is primarily because of the SEZ policy, which doesn’t make it attractive for units to opt for MIHAN – SEZ. He felt that the committee should make a representation to the central govt., listing out suggestions to make the SEZ a viable choice for industrial development.

Shivkumar Rao mentioned that the SEZ policy being unfriendly to investors is an issue that the central govt. recognizes, and is likely to announce an employment-oriented, industry-friendly policy by the end of Sept 2022, as announced by the finance minister in the budget. He felt that while we may give suggestions to the central govt., it is important for the committee to focus on settling the existing issues for which the most important thing is for the MADC (Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited) to be on board. He felt that without MADC on board, the BAC would function more like a pressure group. Rao further felt that MIHAN was still an attractive location for the services sector, particularly finance, IT, MRO, defense and education.

Suresh Rathi mentioned that while we may wait for the new policy to be announced, we have to simultaneously start working on resolving the difficulties of the existing investors, particularly those who have been allotted space within the SEZ, but have not been able to commence operations for some reason. He also highlighted the efforts that have been put in by VIA to address problems of various unit-holders in which MADC was also invited.

After hearing the views of members, Dr V Sraman highlighted the existing problems in MIHAN and complimented the industry associations and trade bodies on their pro-active approach. He advised members of the BAC to help him and the region to be an attractive destination for industrial investment. He assured to frame terms of reference of the BAC. The meeting concluded with a field visit to the SEZ area.

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CAMIT chief meets Dr Nitin Raut over power shortage, load shedding issues in state

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Dipen Agrawal (President, CAMIT) with State Power Minister Dr Nitin Raut

Dr Dipen Agrawal, President, CAMIT (Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade), recently met Dr Nitin Raut (Minister for Energy, New & Renewable Energy, Government of Maharashtra) and discussed the issue of power shortage and proposed load shedding.

Agrawal said that poor electricity supply is widely recognised as a key impediment to firm growth and productivity. Trade and Industry as a whole suffers from power cuts and with 15 out of 27 IMD locations recording more than 40 degrees in Maharashtra and Vidarbha topping with 44.7 degrees, it becomes even more difficult for shops, trade, commerce, agriculture and industry as a whole to operate without proper power.

This directly effects the productivity, sale and revenue, which in turn reduces states tax collections and as the losses pile up many jobs will also be lost. Uncertain power supply and uncertainty over supply of power creates confusion and disrupts planning and strategies. The power outages result in thumbs down to new investments across sectors in trade, commerce and industry. Load shedding has effects on agriculture as well, right from water pumps to processing of agricultural produce everything is disrupted.

Dr Agrawal appealed to the minister to do whatever he and the department can to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers and do away with the proposed load shedding. He requested the minister to address the issue by analysing whether it is a power demand – supply mismatch or fuel (coal) crisis, only then the department can arrive at a solution. He further added that a stable and reliable supply of electricity is essential for almost every aspect of our daily lives and a necessary condition for economic growth.

Dr Raut assured there is no load shedding implemented as of now and it is expected that month of May would pass smoothly too, MSEDCL is not only buying power from private generators but also buying from power exchanges to the tune of 1500 to 1800 MW of power. He also said that the generation shortfall is mainly due shortage of coal and the same is being sorted out. Adani Power which has a PPA with state has increased the supply to 3000 MW.

Agrawal on behalf of business community of the state expressed his gratitude towards Dr Nitin Raut for patiently hearing the issue of load shedding and assuring his best efforts to get them addressed by energy department/ministry.

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