New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) Traders in the NDMC area of the city questioned the timing of the civic body's decision to hike annual licence fees while they are still recovering from the losses caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on Thursday announced it has increased by up to seven per cent the annual fees for grant and renewal of various trade licences for 2021-22, including those for hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, lodging houses and sweet shops.
'The percentage of the hike is not huge but the timing of the move is certainly wrong. Traders are running in losses, businesses are yet to rebound after the lockdown. Throughout the pandemic, there has no been no rebate to traders and now, an added expenditure on top of that,' said Atul Bhargava, president of the New Delhi Traders Association, a body that represents the Connaught Place market.
Bhargava's views were echoed by a representative of the Khan Market Traders Association who said, 'At this point, more support is expected from the government. Some leverage in taxes and utility bills will provide relief to traders who have been running business out of their own pockets for over an year. It is a very insensitive move at this time.' The maximum hike in the licence fee is for five-star hotels which were earlier required to pay Rs 61,200 per annum. They will now have to shell out Rs 65,484.
The annual licence fee for butchers, fish-mongers and poulterers has been increased from Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,284.
Guest houses with up to 20 beds will now pay Rs 2,568 instead of Rs 2,400, those with 21-50 beds will pay Rs 6,527 instead of Rs 6,100, for 50-100 beds, the fee has gone up to Rs 13,054 from Rs 12,200, and those with over 100 beds will pay Rs 26,215, up from 24,500.
The licence fee for cafes and coffee shops with more than 50 seats has been increased from Rs 12,200 to Rs 13,054.
Office canteens, sweet shops, gyms, circuses and auditoriums were charged a licence fee of Rs 1,200 earlier which has now been increased to Rs 1,284, officials said, adding that cinema halls, dancing halls in hotels, clubs and spas will pay Rs 6,527, up from Rs 6,500. PTI GJS IJT