All commercial establishments in the city will have to pay an annual licence fee for running businesses, if a proposal to this effect is implemented by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG).
Even as residents of private colonies are yet to recover from the shocker of property tax imposed by the civic body, the licence fee can soon trigger a hike in the prices of pets, mobile repair, gymnasiums and several others services, putting an extra burden on the people of Gurgaon.
In the first house meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday, the corporation will discuss the agenda of imposing licence fee on all commercial activities.
Besides small businesses like pet shops, mobile shops, gym, tour and travel agencies, the civic body is also planning to impose licence fee on call centres, research centres, construction companies and corporate offices.
According to a senior MCG official, the corporation is entitled to "charge licence fee from anyone who runs a business in the MCG boundary".
Meanwhile, residents and some councillors, including the mayor, have termed the proposal as "anti-social and resurrection of the licence raj".
"None of these agendas have anything to do with the people's problems," said mayor Vimal Yadav.
Residents groups have said the move is unreasonable. "When a commercial unit is sold, the rate is normally three times. On top of it, one is supposed to pay 5% property tax which is double than residential tax. I wonder why they are bent upon levying another fee, that too annually," said Gurgaon Citizen Council president RS Rathi.
Businessmen and industrialists said the move was "hurried" as the process of transfer of sectors from the jurisdiction of Huda (Haryana Urban Development Authority) to MCG is still not over.
"The process of transfer of sectors should be complete before the MCG stakes a claim in the revenue," said Pawan Malhotra, a businessman from Palam Vihar.
Raj Singla of Udyog Vihar Chamber of Commerce said the corporation cannot charge the licence fee as the issue of MCG jurisdiction in Udyog Vihar has not been resolved so far.
"The HSIIDC (Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation) should have handed the Udyog Vihar area over to MCG as per provisions of the Haryana Development and Urban Regulation Act 1975. Until that happens, they shouldn't charge us any licence fee," Singla said.
According to the MCG officials, charging licence fee or property tax has nothing to do with the transfer of sectors.
"The corporation is entitled to collect taxes from the residents of any area falling in its jurisdiction, whether the person stays in a Huda sector or a private colony."
But it remains to be seen whether this move will face more opposition.