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Traders� body alleges discrimination by GMC

By City Correspondent

GUWAHATI, June 20 - The All Assam Traders Association on Saturday alleged that the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is continuously increasing the trade licence fee without effecting any increase in its capital investment amount.

In a memorandum sent to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in this regard, the association said that the GMC by engaging its inspectors, is wrongfully and deliberately interpreting almost all small traders as wholesalers and collecting Rs 8,750 as annual trade licence renewal fee for the financial year 2020-2021.

The traders� body pointed out in the memorandum that 45 years ago in 1974, the annual trade licence fee of the GMC was Rs 125. The renewal fee was increased on five occasions till it rose to Rs 1,750 effective till March 31, 2020. It expressed surprise that while the trade licence renewal fee has been increased from time to time, the 45-year-old capital investment amount as mentioned in the GMC Act has not been increased, which, it said in the memorandum, is a great injustice to the small and marginal traders of Guwahati.

The traders� body urged the Chief Minister to help resolve the issue permanently so that a good business environment is created, especially in this pandemic situation.

Garbage collection charges: The association further alleged that apart from paying trade licence renewal fees, the traders also regularly face harassment from GMC personnel who try to collect garbage charges from them.

In 2015 the traders� body and GMC had agreed that every trader would pay 15 per cent of the trade licence fee every year at the time of renewal of their trade licence as garbage or user charges. As such, asking for additional amounts for garbage collection is a violation of the agreed policy and anti-trader in nature, the association pointed out in the memorandum.

The association appealed to the Chief Minister to look into the matter as the small and marginal traders are bearing the brunt of the additional burden, especially in the current pandemic situation.

There are altogether 50,873 business establishments in the city holding GMC licence.

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