On Wednesday, business owners in north and east Delhi complained over the MCD’s move to rationalise licence and registration costs by bringing them into line with those in the city’s southern marketplaces.
They requested that the fee increase be reversed, arguing that south Delhi markets are more developed than those in north and east Delhi, which lack even the most basic amenities like bathrooms and potable water.
The costs for obtaining a health trade licence to operate a variety of facilities, including banquet halls and restaurants, were updated by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Tuesday.
The health trade licence price of south Delhi neighbourhoods is “unjust,” according to Nitin Gupta, president of the Kamla Nagar Traders Association, to be imposed in north and east Delhi.
“According to the Master Plan, the conversion charge and parking development charge that merchants paid to the MCD were supposed to be used for the market’s development. However, the municipal organisation failed to comply, so now it has increased taxes and a licence cost and imposed it on merchants. This is totally unfair,” said Gupta to PTI.
“Prior to bringing uniformity to the tax and licencing systems, the MCD should first develop north Delhi’s neighbourhoods to the same standard as the south. Fee increases should be reversed,” Gupta requested.
For 94 categories of health trades, the MCD’s public health department has amended the one-time registration cost and annual licence fee amounts.
A one-time registration price for a health trade licence for banquet halls with up to 250 seats has been set at Rs 10,000 under the new regulation, while an annual licencing charge has been set at Rs 15,000
Banquet halls having a capacity of more than 250 seats must pay registration and licence fees for the health industry of Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.
Before this arrangement, north Delhi’s traders just had to pay Rs 1,000 for their health trade licence.
The businessmen claimed that following the increase in the licence fee, those wishing to start a dhaba (eatery) in north Delhi will now have to pay Rs 6,000 for a licence, up from Rs 500 previously.
Similar to this, a three-star hotel in north Delhi will now pay Rs 1 lakh and a five-star hotel would pay Rs 5 lakh annually for a health trade licence. Previously, it was Rs 500 for each category.
The adjustment to the health trade licence cost, according to Karol Bagh Market Federation advisor Ajay Bajaj, will burden traders more and “discourage” people from opening new businesses in this area.
“The choice to charge northern city traders more fees while simultaneously depriving them of development is wrong. According to Bajaj, the areas and markets of North Delhi are not as developed as those of the south, which has a higher level of development.
We will meet with MCD officials and ask them to reverse the increase in the licence cost”, he added.
Ramesh Batra, a merchant in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar Market, claimed that since traders already pay several taxes at higher rates, they shouldn’t be subjected to any new burdens.
The MCD should rethink its choice, according to Batra.
(With inputs from PTI)
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