Pune: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to charge a fee from shopkeepers for display boards outside their shops. The PMC has proposed a fixed rate of Rs 220 per square feet. This is the first time that the corporation has proposed a fee on the shopkeepers.
One of the senior officials of Sky and Sign department said, “We have prepared a policy. Though it has not been tabled in the Standing Committee for approval yet, it will be tabled next week. There are around 2.5 lakh shopkeepers in the city. They all display names of their shops and boards of their products. Since this is part of advertising, we have included them in Sky and Sign department. After charging a fee, we will get around Rs 10 crore revenue per year. It is a income source which we have ignored.”
Kantilal Rathod, owner of Mahalaxmi general store located in Shivajinagar area, said, “It is a bad idea to charge a fee on our boards. It is part of our shops. We are already paying commercial property tax to the corporation. How can corporation impose a tax on that? It is an absolute injustice to the shopkeepers.”
This year, Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar tabled a draft budget of Rs 5,397 crore which is Rs 200 crore less than last year’s budget amount. During the budget speech, the commissioner gave thrust on new revenue sources to increase the income of the civic body. After that, the corporation came up with a parking policy where the corporation has also proposed high parking fees on vehicles. Now, the corporation wants to explore new ways to generate revenue and the charge on shopkeepers’ display boards is one of them.