THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The traders in the capital city have armed up against the City Corporation as civic officials are allegedly charging high annual licence fees from them. According to the officials of the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES), the health inspectors who go for inspections in shops and establishments for renewing the annual licence are moving them to higher slabs based on capital investment and charging them accordingly.
According to S S Manoj, district general secretary of KVVES, one of the incidents that happened in the Sreekaryam zone urged them to take up the issue. “The micro-enterprises which have capital investment up to Rs 10 lakh are to be charged with Rs 500 as the annual licence fee. The traders must pay commercial tax if they are running their establishments on rented buildings.
Many of the health inspectors are including the value of the building to fix the annual licence fee, which is illegal. This increases the value of the capital investment. The traders are forced to pay higher amounts and this results in moving their business under mini enterprises or small enterprises categories,” he said.
He also alleged that though the licence could be renewed online through the local self government department’s website, many officials are threatening the traders to conduct offline inspections so that they could charge them higher amounts.
“The renewal process is like giving a self-declaration form. However, many officials come directly for renewing the licence and they write a higher capital investment amount on the backside of the application form. Some of the traders don’t even know that the value of the rented building shouldn’t be included in calculating the annual licence fee. It should be based on the capital investment alone,” he added.
The traders have reportedly complained to the Corporation Mayor, Deputy Mayor and secretary about the issue. The KVVES officials had moved court two years earlier to make a uniform annual licence fee for all the shops in panchayat, corporation and municipality limits. The officials have also submitted a petition to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Local Self Government Minister A C Moideen and Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta requesting to extend the last date of licence renewal to June 30.
“It won’t be possible to complete the process by February 28. With the state elections coming, the government officials will be busy. So the traders need more time to complete the renewal process as they don’t want to be charged a hefty penalty,” said Manoj.
‘No such issues’
According to Deputy Mayor P K Raju, the process of license renewal is going on smoothly and denied the allegations of KVVES. “There was a slight misunderstanding during the inspection that led to an argument. We came to know about the issue, however, it was solved with ease,” he said.
The KVVES officials had earlier moved court to make a uniform annual licence fee for all the
shops in panchayat, corporation and municipality limits