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Township opens up to trade
- Salt Lake seeks govt nod to allow ‘clean’ business from home

Bowing to pressure from various quarters, Salt Lake municipality on Wednesday adopted a resolution that seeks to legalise commercial activity on residential premises of the township.

The resolution was adopted at a marathon monthly meeting at the municipality office. Cutting across party lines, the Opposition Trinamul Congress also extended its support.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said Salt Lake municipality chairman Dilip Gupta had discussed the proposal with him earlier. He said he would examine it when he received it.

“There are many unemployed youths in Salt Lake who cannot even begin a business that does not involve production and pollution. If a jobless youth cannot show a place of business, he will not be granted funds under central self-employment schemes or by banks. By the new resolution, an unemployed youth can start a trade from home,” the minister said.

Bhattacharya also indicated that unauthorised commercial establishments already running in the township may be legalised by a change in the existing law.

“We will have to evolve a transparent mechanism, so that commercial ventures that do not pollute the environment can function in Salt Lake. We are giving software establishments permission to operate from Salt Lake, judging each case individually,” said Bhattacharya.

Wednesday’s move, according to officials, follows a growing demand among unemployed youths from the township to be allowed to carry on self-employment activity from home.

“This is a historic resolution, aimed at providing help to the township’s educated but jobless youths. This will also help the municipality earn some revenue,” said municipality chairman Dilip Gupta.

“It was really embarrassing for us when youths approached us for help but we could not do anything for them,” he added.

According to Gupta, the resolution has been sent to the department of urban and municipal affairs for final approval. “Once the department concerned okays it, we can translate the proposal into action,” he added.

At present, there are nearly 60,000 unemployed youths in the township. “So far, we could not help the youths, even through the central and state self-employment schemes, because of the land ceiling Act. Now, if the government okays the resolution, we can easily disburse funds to the youths for self-employment schemes,” Gupta maintained.

The municipality will now have to prepare a list of trading and manufacturing activities to be allowed in the township.

“We will not allow any business or trade that will invite criticism from residents. We will have to be judicious in giving permission to trade and business, as this is a residential area,” said chairman Gupta.

Consultancy firms, offices and agencies will top the list for commercial clearance. Setting up of large manufacturing units will not be allowed.

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