Delhi government’s decision that restaurants need not get health trade licences from municipal corporations will cripple the already struggling civic bodies further, MCD officials said.
The three corporations earn over Rs 16 crore per annum — North (Rs 5 crore), South (Rs 8.5 crore) and East (Rs 3 crore) — by issuing these licences. Renewal of the licence costs between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000, depending on seating capacity.
Last week, in a meeting with restaurant industry representatives, where commissioners of municipal corporations were also present, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the practice should be “abolished within 10 days” as licenses from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, which restaurants already have to take, would suffice.
But officials are also worried that in the absence of this licence, there is a chance that business owners will skip paying property and conversion charges as well.
A senior official of North MCD said, “People who have to procure health trade licenses have to give an undertaking, in which they declare that they have given conversion charge and property tax… This is a self declaration but also acts as a legal document… Though we do not ask for proof, business owners mostly ensure that they have paid taxes before making such a declaration,” he said.
North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said that the Delhi government is doing this to paralyse the corporation in an attempt to come to power. He said that North MCD would forfeit the trade license if the Delhi government pays all the money that is due to the MCDs as well as the money that it gets from health trade license.
“If the Delhi government wants to limit licensing, why doesn’t it start with excise department?” said Leader of the house of South MCD Narendra Chawla.
“The Delhi government is simply supporting Ease of Business guidelines of Centre,” said AAP chief spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj.
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