Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is all set to hike the charges for issuing no objection certificates (NOC) for fire safety to commercial establishments by 20 per cent. An agenda in this regard would be placed before the General House meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
The fire safety NOC charges were introduced in 2018 by the Chandigarh civic body. According to the new rates proposed the minimum charges for a Group A residential occupancy category will be Rs 6,000 or Rs 12 per square metre, whichever is more. Since paying guest accomodations/ buildings fall under Group A residential buildings, the same shall be applied to them as well. And the validity of the same will be three years.
Similarly, for Group B, which is educational buildings, the minimum charges proposed are Rs 6,000 or Rs 12 per square metre for covered area whichever is more. And the same will be for three years period.
For all the other categories, like Group C, which is institutional, Group D which is the Assembly, Group E which is buisness, Group F which is mercantile (shops, underground shopping centres and storage services), Group G which is industrial, Group H which is storage category and Group J which is hazardous, all will have a proposed minimum charge of Rs 6,000 or Rs 12 per square metre rate for the covered area.
The existing charges are Rs 5,000 or Rs 10 per square metre. As per the existing charges, for mercantile (Group F) it was Rs 5000 or Rs 10 per square metre and for small booths, it was Rs 2,500 or Rs 5 per square metre.
Even in the industrial category, the existing minimum charges were Rs 5,000 or Rs 7.50 per square metre whichever is more. The fee will be charged from multiplex buildings, cinema halls, malls, gas agencies, hotel, marriage places, schools, petrol pumps, colleges, universities, hospitals and open exhibitions.
According to the civic body, there are around 20,000 commercial establishments in the city. The Aam Aadmi Party’s Yogesh Dhingra who is also the Leader of Opposition, said that many people, especially shopkeepers suffered serious losses in the pandemic, and the hike is not justified.
“We will certainly oppose this agenda. We all object to this steep hike in these charges. Many people have lost their jobs, livelihood due to the pandemic especially. The shopkeepers too suffered great losses and thus we wont let this agenda be approved,” Dhingra said.
Places of worship exempted
However, according to the officials, residential buildings under Group A where one or two family private dwellings or apartment houses exist and places of worship are exempted from the fire safety certificate charges.
5% enhancement every year
The agenda also said that there would be an enhancement of fire safety charges at 5 per cent of existing charges every year with effect from April 1, 2023.
Before 2018, the NOC was free of cost. It was only in the wake of the financial crisis the civic body was facing that they decided to charge a fee to issue NOC for fire safety to the establishments. The MC has also made it mandatory for all establishments to take the fire safety NOC, failing which action will be taken as per the Delhi Fire Prevention and Safety Act, 1986. The owners have to renew the NOC after every three years after paying the said amount.