MCG formulating policy to regularise banquet halls
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) is formulating a policy to regularise banquet halls in the city, officials said on Friday.
The move is expected to benefit the civic body as it hopes to procure ₹120 crore in licence fees, as well as safeguard the interest of residents as owners of banquet halls will be required to conform to building norms, including putting in place proper fire safety measures.
The development comes in the backdrop of the fire department finding discrepancies in four banquet halls in the city last month during a fire safety survey. IS Kashyap, assistant divisional fire safety officer, said they found two common discrepancies in all four halls.
“The exit points were blocked, as the layout for parking of vehicles was not similar to those approved in the original building plans. In addition, fire safety amenities were either absent or not kept in ideal locations,” Kashyap said.
Kashyap did not disclose the location of the four banquet halls in question as the safety survey is still underway.
MCG officials said the policy will be completed after the general elections, following which applications from owners of banquet halls will be sought.
Officials said one-time regularisation is expected to cost ₹4,000 per square metre and help the civic body collect approximately ₹120 crore as licence fee.
A policy for regularising banquets halls was introduced in September 2016.
However, since only one applicant had come forward for regularisation, officials decided to scrap the policy.
Officials said this year the prices for regularising will be more reasonable than two years ago, and hence except more takers for the policy.
Currently, however, there are no provisions on the table to penalise owners of banquet hall who do not regularise their respective properties.
In a survey conducted by MCG in March last year, MCG found that 72 banquet halls were operating in the city, of which 35 fell under the 300-metre restricted area of the Indian Air Force’s ammunition depot in Gurugram’s Sector 14 and were deemed illegal as no constructions are allowed in the area as per a Punjab and Haryana High Court order.
The new policy is aimed at regularising the remaining 37 banquet halls, said officials.
This is the second such action taken by MCG over the past year regarding banquet halls.
“Regularising banquet halls means owners are bound to conform to certain standards of safety and adhere to norms as listed in the building plans. Once the process of regularisation is completed, the conformity towards norms can be consistently monitored by MCG officials,” Yashpal Yadav, MCG commissioner, said.
The corporation, in March last year, sealed 10 banquet halls over the non-payment of property tax.
Since 2008 (when the MCG was formed), 72 banquet hall owners cumulatively owed the MCG ₹9.27 crore in property taxes. After the sealing drive, MCG collected more than one-third of its dues.