The Health Committee is overseeing the functions of the Municipal Corporation in direct contravention of established regulations. This irregularity has persisted over the years. Even after the Municipal Council's promotion to Municipal Corporation in 2011, no significant improvement has been observed in this matter, despite the fact that there is a clear violation of the Rajasthan Municipalities (Powers, Duties, and Functions of Committees) Rules 2009, as stipulated in the official gazette notification.
According to these regulations, the responsibility for granting licenses and managing fees and penalties in cases involving hotel-restaurants, birth-death certificates, and non-residential purposes should be vested in the Finance Committee. However, the Health Committee has been in charge of issuing licenses for hotel and restaurant operations within the Municipal Council for an extended period.
It is noteworthy that the inception of the Municipal Council in Udaipur can be traced back to 1922 during the reign of Mewar. During that period, an elected members system was in operation. In July 1948, it was upgraded to the status of a Municipal Corporation. Subsequently, due to alterations in the government's framework, the Municipal Corporation underwent a transition back to a Council.
In accordance with the Finance Committee Act under the Local Self-Government Act of 2009, the Department of Local Self-Government is mandated to follow the responsibilities and functions outlined in Sections 80 to 96, 98 to 100, 101, 104, 105, 108, 148, 150, and 296. Section 105 of this Act, pertaining to the authority for collecting fees and fines, clearly designates the Finance Committee as responsible for granting approvals and issuing certificates for building plans and their completion as part of the Bhavan Yojana.
The department will issue licenses for a range of non-residential land and building uses. According to Section 105 G, it has the authority to grant licenses (permits) for activities like advertising, premises for various purposes, private markets, transportation depots, restaurants, hotels, theaters, cinemas, public entertainment venues, and other non-residential uses, as specified by the rules and regulations. Furthermore, these rules allow for the collection of fees and fines associated with the issuance of birth and death certificates in compliance with the stipulations and clauses within the rules.
The Health Committee, while exerting authority over the Finance Committee, also pursues its own interests. One of the duties of the Health Committee is to coordinate hotel accommodations for external officials and guests visiting the Municipal Corporation. As per the regulations, the matter of delegating the authority for license distribution to the Finance Department has been discussed on multiple occasions during board meetings. However, each time, the Health Committee has maintained control, citing a shortage of staff in the Finance Committee as the rationale for retaining this responsibility.
The Finance Committee employs 5 accountants, whereas the Health Committee boasts approximately 12 inspectors and close to 70 constables. In this scenario, the Health Committee argues that the Finance Committee's employees will struggle to find opportunities to inspect every hotel. The Health Committee's staff is consistently in the field, making inspection opportunities easily accessible as part of their regular process.
Source: Dainik Bhaskar