The Margao Municipal babus seemed to have woken from deep slumber and suddenly realized that trade is being carried out in the commercial capital without the mandatory trade license.
Dishing out an impression that the civic body means business, the Margao Municipal Council on Wednesday issued show cause notices on 162 business establishments operating without trade licenses in the commercial capital.
Sources in the know, however, say that hundreds, if not thousands of business establishments, have been operating in the city without the mandatory trade license from the civic body, denying precious revenue for the civic body. In fact, the civic body had been found lethargic over the years in mopping up huge revenue by way of trade license as well as revenue from the display of advertising boards by the business establishments. “Revenue from these two heads can enrich the civic coffers by several crores of rupees annually, but in vain. Revenue by way of trade license and advertising fees was never collected from all the business establishments all these years by the very Municipal babus”, remarked an official.
Former MMC Chairperson Savio Coutinho said the MMC’s claim that establishments are operating with mandatory trade license and advertising fees is not new. He said this has been going on for the last several years with Municipal staff and employees turning a blind eye to the loss of revenue.
“Madgavkars are not surprised that business establishments have been carrying on trade and commerce without the mandatory license. I had drawn the attention of successive chairpersons to collect revenue from the establishments doing business without trade license. Even the media had highlighted the issue from time to time over the last several years, but in vain”, Coutinho said.
He, however, hoped the civic body will take action to its logical conclusion since realization has suddenly dawned on the civic body officials that business establishments are carrying out the activity without trade licenses.
A retired MMC official informed that there may be several thousand small and large business establishments doing business in the commercial without the mandatory trade license. “The MMC is only paying lip service to the issue. You think the MMC staff and employees have no idea that establishments have set up shop without the license. Somehow, the civic authorities have been found lethargic in cracking the whip for reasons best known to them”, the retired official added.
Meanwhile, revenue has started trickling into the Margao Municipal coffers following the weekend drive after notices were served business establishments and households to clear the taxes.
If the civic body managed to earn Rs 21 lakh a day ago, tax payments to the tune of Rs 13 lakhs was collected on Wednesday, with Chief Officer Agnelo Fernandes saying that citizens are still not coming forward to clear their tax dues.