New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) At a time when the entire nation is under lockdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, temporarily taking away the livelihoods from crores of traders across the country, a bill raised by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has left over 5,000 traders tensed.
The civic body on April 7 raised the monthly rent of the shops it has rented out in various famous markets in its limits, including Palika Bazar.
According to the traders, it’s not only the rent that is bothering them, but also the timing of the move. NDMC has introduced a 10 per cent hike in rent, which is normally imposed once in every two years as per the contract.
The rent bills raised by the civic body range between Rs 15,000 to nearly Rs 75,000 per month, fixed as per the rent agreement keeping in view the location and size of shops, the traders claimed.
“We have been earning nothing for over two months, but NDMC is not ready to cooperate with traders. Our multiple demands to withdraw the rent till the pandemic situation have gone unheard,” the Chairman of Palika Bazar market association,ABaljit Singh Kohli told IANS.A
Showing the rent bill sent by NDMC, Kohli said the bill for April has included the 10 per cent hike in rent that is supposed to take place every two years.
He added that various mails regarding the same have been sent to the NDMC Chairman, Secretary, the Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister, but only Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office replied and said that it was forwarding the mail to NDMC for ‘proper action’.
“I humbly prayed your goodself to direct the NDMC officials to withdraw all the monthly licence fee bills with immediate effect because it will be proved a double attack for the shopkeepers of Palika Bazar as their business have completely stopped and there is no other way of their earning besides they have the liability to pay salary to their entire staff. I further request your goodself to also direct the NDMC officials not to issue the licence fee bills in future till the complete vanishing of this killer disease,” one such mail sent to Union Home Minister Amit Shah by the traders read.
NDMC officials though claimed that they were aware of the traders’ issues and a solution has been found to deal with the matter.
“NDMC has just two sources of revenue — licence fee and taxes. If we give up the rent, how are we supposed to provide services to the residents in our area,” asked a senior official of the NDMC, requesting anonymity.
He added that a meeting of senior officials of NDMC is scheduled for Wednesday where the matter is expected to be heard.
“We are aware their (traders’) concerns, and hopefully on Wednesday we all will sit and find a solution to this,” he added.