Published On : Thu, Sep 3rd, 2020

Traders & Administration should work in tandem without any friction to win over COVID crisis – Dipen Agrawal

Nagpur: A delegation of Chamber of Association of Maharashtra Industry & Trade (CAMIT) led by President, Dipen Agrawal met the newly appointed Municipal Commissioner of Nagpur city Radhakrishnan B. (IAS) and welcomed him on behalf of business community of Nagpur.

Dipen Agrawal, welcoming the relaxation announced on 1st September 2020 in working hours till 9.00 pm and exemption from Odd-Even opening to certain shops said that operations of about 50 % shops in market places still remain under restriction. He further said that odd-even opening of shops for non-essential goods was introduced during later part of lockdown period to have calibrated opening of economic activities in the country. After announcing “Mission Begin Again”, Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI and State government has time and again reiterated that there should not be any restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of goods and requested to permit normal working (while following the Covid protocols) in markets and market places by completely withdrawing the condition of odd-even opening of shops.

Dinesh Sarda, Past President of the Wholesale Cloth & Yarn Merchants Association informing Commissioner about the highhandedness of LBT department said that the department in total disregard to earlier directions of the then Municipal Commissioners are issuing Best Judgment Orders without giving antim sandhi notice (last chance notice). Appellate authority is not accepting appeals challenging these BJ Orders against payment of Rs. 5000 towards penalty, if charged, as decided earlier. He also informed that department contrary to time limit prescribed under LBT Rules 2010 and specific directions of State government are making backdated orders. Dinesh Sarda requested Commissioner to intervene and direct the authorities below to give Last Chance to dealer/assessee before making BJ Order and further to accept/receive appeals challenging BJ Orders against payment of Rs. 5000/- as decided earlier.

Dhiraj Maloo drew attention of Commissioner on the pending dispute between NMC and its tenants. He informed that almost all tenants of NMC have filed cases in Court of law against unilateral increase of rent by Corporation which in some cases is more than 1000 times. He also informed that the tenants being responsible citizens of the city and acknowledging that Corporation should get the rightful dues, initiated discussions with the Corporation through their Federation. The deliberations were on the verge of conclusion, however due to Covid-19 lockdown and disturbance the talks could not reach to its conclusive end. This issue is haunting almost all Corporations in the State he added and requested him to take lead and make Nagpur Municipal Corporation the first corporation to amicably resolve the issue, to unlock at least three years pending rent.

Sanjay K. Agrawal, Vice President (Nagpur) CAMIT, informing the Commissioner about the recent trade license order issued by Corporation said that the order is ultra-vires to the provisions of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 (MMC Act). The said order tends to control every business, commercial and professional activities undertaken within the territorial jurisdiction of Nagpur Municipal Corporation, whereas the provision authorises Corporation to regulate certain specified goods and operations as listed in Chapter XVIII of Annexure-D of the Act. He further said that the order was issued circumventing the provisions incorporated in the MMC Act in relation to make, add, alter or rescind the rules, regulations and bye-laws to this effect and requested Commissioner to recall the order dated 27/07/2020.

Dipen Agrawal, concluding the submissions said that to raise additional funds for Corporation to meet the contingencies arising due to present pandemic NMC should form a Committee having representation of administrative officers, elected public representatives, trade & commerce and professional to explore ways and means to enhance Corporation revenue without burdening the citizens. He proposed that the committee Identify potential Corporation assets and monetise the same on Public Private Partnership (PPP) module, to generate regular income for the Corporation; find early resolution to the impasse between Corporation & Tenants on unilateral rent increase, to unlock three years pending rent and to address the issues of developers who are waiting for approval of building plans and other applications to raise substantial amount for Corporation.

The Municipal Commissioner, Shri Radhakrishnan, patiently heard the submissions and appreciated the concern shown to enhance Corporations revenue without burdening the citizens. He informed the delegation that his first priority is to save human life and contain spread of Corona virus in city, however he is in favour to further open markets and if specific inputs are provided in this regard, he is open to consider the same. He also assured to have detailed discussion shortly to address the issues raised.

Dipen Agrawal on behalf to traders of Nagpur expressed his gratitude for giving patient hearing and assuring to extend his helping hand to traders.