Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has decided to decentralise the job of issuing trade licenses to hotels, function halls, hospitals and other businesses to the Assistant Medical and Health Officer (AM&OH) of the area concerned.

No longer will officials in the head office (HO) be giving fresh licences or renewing old ones, Additional Commissioner (Health and Sanitation) Rama Mohana Rao said after discussions with Commissioner C.V.S.K. Sarma on Wednesday.

The Commissioner will review the process of issuing trade licences, especially for the 20 and odd categories of businesses like hotels, bars, halls on Thursday.

With regard to the surfacing of fake receipts and allotment of identical pin number for different parties, Mr. Rao blamed it on a `technical error.' "There is a software problem and we have shut down the system for a proof-check and for installing firewalls," he said.

The AM&OHs would be the sole authority to give pin numbers, he said. A turf war broke out between Chief Medical and Health Officer and the AM&OH in the HO on one side and AM&OHs of erstwhile MCH circles on the other over issuing licences.

Both are charging each other of resorting to illegal means for issuing trade licenses to hotels, bars and others without undertaking the High Court stipulated conditions of having 25 per cent parking, location in residential or commercial zone, bulk garbage scheme.

Automatic renewals of licences to hotels and others through eSeva and other modes were dispensed with in October last after the High Court made it compulsory for a joint survey by the traffic police and the GHMC.

The power was shifted to the HO since then and this was not to the AM&OHs liking.