New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday claimed restaurants in the city face harassment due to ‘licence raj’ and hoped the municipal corporations will soon comply with the FSSAI directive to discontinue issuing food licences. This comes days after the Delhi government announced the abolition of police licenses and health trade licences, issued by the BJP-ruled municipal corporations, for restaurants. It set a 10-day deadline for the abolishment of health trade licences.
The corporations have alleged that the decision is a “ploy" to weaken the civic bodies and said they will seek legal opinion to “counter" the move. “Restaurants contribute to Delhi economy and taxes in a big way. They face harassment due to license raj. All governments should work together to remove harassment. Centre (central) government body FSSAI has directed MCDs to stop issuing food licenses. I hope MCDs will comply soon with Centre’s directions," Kejriwal said in a tweet on Sunday.
The Delhi government’s decision to abolish licences for restaurants was taken at a meeting chaired by Kejriwal. It was attended by restaurant owners. In the meeting, the restaurateurs had said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) already issues food safety and hygiene licences. Issuing of health trade licences by local bodies duplicated the task and was irrelevant.
North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash had said he has sought legal opinion to counter the government’s move. South Delhi Mayor Anamika alleged that the AAP government is doing politics over the issuing of health trade licences.
“They are misleading people by saying no licence should be there to run restaurants. The licences are issued by the corporations under the DMC Act 1957 to ensure the safety and comfort of people by ensuring adherence to various parameters," she said. The health trade licence is issued online for ease of doing business and there is no interference by any officer. The entire process is transparent, she added.
Anamika said these licences cover various parameters like structural safety of a restaurant building, safe drinking water to prevent water-borne diseases, health check-up of waiters and delivery boys, solid waste management and sanitation. Restaurateurs have welcomed the government’s decision.
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