BBMP chases commercial properties in residential areas

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BENGALURU: BBMP will soon form a committee to study the pros and cons of having restrictions on commercial establishments in residential areas and to draft a plan to issue trade licences to such establishments.
In a council meeting held on Saturday, opposition party leader Padmanabh Reddy said many commercial establishments in residential areas do not possess a trade licence and this has been causing a loss to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) in terms of revenue.

“No action has been taken against such establishments and the BBMP is incurring huge losses,” said BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad, clarifying it was a policy matter which prevented them from issuing trade licences in residential areas. The committee will work in this regard.

“If we are able to pass a resolution later, we can approach the government to modify the guidelines,” he said.
He said a notification was issued by Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA), also acknowledged by High Court in 2014, to issue trading licences based on certain criteria (see box).
He said it has also come to the notice of BBMP that people who have taken permission to run hostels (residential licence issued) are now running commercial establishments.

“In 2014-15, BBMP revenue through issue of trade licences was Rs 23.89 crore, Rs 23.87 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 42.68 crore in 2016-17 (till January 20),” said the BBMP commissioner.
“BBMP has issued 52,504 new trading licences and 40,350 have applied for renewal. Now, issuing trade licences has been made online. For renewal of licences, officials have to complete the process in a stipulated time but in the case of issuing fresh trading licences, we do not have a stipulated time. We are planning to make it time-bound,” he said.

‘AAP allegations are publicity stunt’
Talking about AAP’s allegation of a Rs 400 crore scam in issuing trade licences, Mayor Padmavathi G said it was just a publicity stunt and there was no truth in the allegations levelled by AAP.
BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad said the allegations were baseless and pointed out to the more than 50,000 trade licences issued till January 20.
AAP had stated that local corporators, members of Taxation Standing Committee and the Mayor were involved in the scam.