KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Monday decided to slash fire licence fees by 92 per cent, state finance minister Amit Mitra said.
The minister said the state government created four categories where fire licences are required and slashed the fees uniformly across the categories, he said.
"The fire department is not a revenue earning department but a regulatory department. So if small businessmen pay hefty amounts to get the licence, they will be unable to do business. So we have decided to device this mechanism," Mitra said.
The minister said the move will help businessmen of the MSME sector.
"There will be a uniform reduction of 92 per cent in all the four categories," he told reporters.
The first category includes residential buildings, educational institutes, art galleries, dharmashalas and libraries.
In 2017, the fire licence fee in these cases was Rs 53.80 per square metre of floor area.
Now, it was made Rs 4.35 per square metre. In the second category which includes hospitals, research centres, guest houses and nursing homes, the fee was Rs 80.70 per square metre of floor area.
It was reduced to Rs 6.52 per square metre, the minister said.
Mitra said licence fee for ports, airports, shopping malls, offices and markets which comprise the third category was Rs 107.60 per square metre of floor area in 2017.
The government decided to bring it down to Rs 8.07 per square metres. In the fourth category comes the outlets of hazardous substances such as fireworks and the fee was Rs 161.40 per square metre.
It was reduced to Rs 13.05 per square metre of the floor, he said.