A streamlined single window system for issuing trade licences is all set to regulate traders in the city.
Replying to a councillor at the Chennai Corporation’s council meeting on Thursday, Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy said a new system to give more teeth to the health department will soon be put in place. Business units that are public health hazards or cause a nuisance to residents are likely to be regulated directly by the civic body’s health department under the new system.
In 2003, the civic body had introduced a system to issue trade licences to businesses, under which the revenue department was entrusted with the task of enlisting new trades.
Many trades such as meat shops and provision stores that operated in an area less than 200 sq. ft., were given licences without prior inspection by the health department. This has emerged as a stumbling block in the recent spate of efforts by the health department to ensure improved public health by regulating trades.
The Corporation has also identified 39,290 traders who are operating without trade licence in various localities across the city. The civic body has already planned to send legal notices to all these unregulated traders to facilitate locking and sealing of their buildings.
The Corporation’s request to traders asking them to renew trade licences for 2012-13 has not evoked adequate response so far. The Corporation collected a few crore rupees as trade licence fees from 26,662 traders in the year 2011-2012. But regulation continues to be a challenge.
Health officials have been conducting raids on eateries, meat stalls and trades that have the potential to pose public health hazards. Such raids will be far more effective under the new system, officials said.
More than 185 trades under the old city limits have been covered under the trade licence fee framework so far. As the merged local bodies had a varied list of trades covered under the licence fee framework, the Corporation will use the new system as a stepping stone for compilation of a complete list of the new traders.