Delhi restros facing harassment due to ‘licence raj’, says Kejriwal

Delhi restros facing harassment due to ‘licence raj’, says Kejriwal

Days after his government abolished the requirement of police and health trade licences from civic bodies for restaurants, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said restaurants in the city face harassment due to what he called the “licence raj” and hoped the municipal corporations of Delhi will soon comply with the FSSAI directive to discontinue issuing food licences.

 The Delhi government has set a 10-day deadline for abolishing health trade licences. The corporations have alleged that the decision is a “ploy” to weaken the civic bodies and said they will seek legal opinion to “counter” the move.

“Restaurants contribute to Delhi economy and taxes in a big way [sic]. They face harassment due to license raj. All governments should work together to remove harassment. Centre (central) government body FSSAI has directed MCDs to stop issuing food licenses. I hope MCDs will comply soon with Centre’s directions,” Kejriwal said in a tweet on Sunday.

The Delhi government’s decision to abolish licences for restaurants was taken at a meeting chaired by the CM and attended by restaurant owners. In the meeting, the restaurateurs had said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) already issues food safety and hygiene licences. Issuing of health trade licences by local bodies duplicated the task and was irrelevant.

The health trade licence is issued online for ease of doing business and there is no interference by any officer. The entire process is transparent, she added.

Anamika said these licences cover various parameters like structural safety of a restaurant building, safe drinking water to prevent water-borne diseases, health check-up of waiters and delivery boys, solid waste management and sanitation.

Restaurateurs have welcomed the government’s decision.

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