Shops with glow signboards should not fall under the advertisement category and should not be charged license fees. Representatives of about 2.5 lakh shopkeepers in Mumbai are meeting the newly elected Mayor Shubha Raul on Thursday expecting a solution from her.
The shopkeepers are agitated as a resolution to this effect was already passed in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) House in January 2004. As per this resolution, shops having glow signboards of maximum three meter by one meter should be exempted from the license fees that is today charged at the rate of Rs 245 per square feet or more depending on the size of the board.
The rule says that any signboard having bulb or tube light of more than 25 watt should be charged the license fees as it falls under the advertisement category. Boards without any glow doesn’t fall under this category.
Yogesh Katira, President of Shopkeepers Welfare Association who would be leading the delegation to Raul, said that while passing the resolution, the BMC House requested the mayor to take this issue further to the state government for final clearance. “Since then no mayor took this issue up with the state government,” said Katira.
The association would request Raul to take this issue with the state authorities immediately. “We are sure that she would help us,” said Katira.
He added that till three years back there were about 60 per cent shops which had glow sign boards. “But with the license fees increasing, about 40 per cent of them have removed glow signboards,” said Katira.
He further said that the association would also request Raul to help shopkeepers in getting the shop closing deadline increased from 8.30 pm to 10 pm. As per the Shops and Establishment Act shops are required to down their shutters at 8.30 pm. “Though this issue falls under the state government authorities, we would seek her help in taking this too ahead,” said Katira.
He added that they are taking up this issue as shopping malls are open till 10 pm and small shops are losing business because of this. "Moreover, in Mumbai people reach home only after 8 pm, hence shops should be opened at least till 10 pm,” said Mukesh Kolhatkar, a shopkeeper from Malad.