Ludhiana, June 16
Under immense pressure from the trade and industry sectors as well as senior Congress leaders, the Municipal Corporation has deferred the implementation of the Punjab Government decision to impose a one-time penalty of Rs1,000 and a daily fine of Rs 100 for late renewal of trade licences.
The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC), in its meeting, which continued till late evening on Tuesday with Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu in the chair, recommended reverting to the old system with permitted renewal of these licences on payment of a stipulated fee.
Several trade associations as well as Opposition parties, including SAD and BJP, had expressed opposition to the move saying it would inflict a ‘killer’ blow to small shopkeepers and businesses which were facing a crisis-like situation due to Covid-induced persistent lockdowns and drastic drop in sales.
In yet another significant decision, the MC panel also ruled in favour of putting on hold for the time being the privatisation of recovery of arrears of water supply and sewerage charges. The MC top brass and other members of the F&CC apparently agreed with the apprehensions of most other political parties in general and city residents in particular that handing over recovery of arrears of user charges in private hands could lead to strong-arm tactics and highhandedness on the part of recovery agents.
The MC, however, called upon the Punjab Government to provide adequate field and clerical staff to efficiently handle recovery of user charges at its own level because the move for privatisation was necessitated by shortage of employeed at various levels.
Among other issues discussed in the F&CC meeting were approval of tenders and issuance of work orders to successful bidders for nearly 140 development works, mostly those of road construction with premix carpet, cement concrete and laying interlocking tiles, fixing upper ceiling for bids in relation to CSR (common schedule of rates) to deal with the menace of pooling by contractors and inviting bids for paid parking sites in Sarabha Nagar and Model Town Extension markets. — OC
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