Only five of the 2,000-plus ceremony houses in the city are legal. The number of licensed ceremony houses plummeted from 370 last year after civic regulations, based on a high court directive, were put into effect.
Under the new norms, grant or renewal of licence to a ceremony house depends on two factors — structural stability and location.
The structural safety certificate is provided by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC)’s building department.
Factors such as proximity to an educational institution, population density, parking space availability and garbage disposal facility also determine whether a ceremony house gets the civic nod or not.
“The ceremony houses that are mushrooming across the city often inconvenience local residents. The new regulations, based on a high court directive, will, hopefully, minimise the nuisance,” said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay.
Only 54 ceremony houses sought to renew their licences under the new norms, according to civic records. Five of them met the requirements. The licensed houses are at Gol Park, Dhakuria, KN Sen Road, BL Shah Road and on EM Bypass.
The CMC has received complaints from residents of Ballygunge Phari, Ironside Road, Jodhpur Park, Entally, Bagbazar, Beleghata, Belgachhia, Jadavpur, Santoshpur and Behala about ceremony houses disturbing their peace, said an official.
The civic authorities are considering a proposal to ask the police to take action against ceremony houses operating without a licence, added the official.
In 2003, while dealing with a case of denial of licence to a ceremony house, the high court had directed the CMC to frame regulations to control proliferation of such houses.
The civic board under mayor Subrata Mukherjee formulated the regulations that year but did not notify them in the government gazette. Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya notified the regulations in 2007. They came into effect this year, after ratification by the mayoral council.
The daily charge of hiring a ceremony house ranges from Rs 10,000 and Rs 2 lakh. But the CMC’s annual earning from the ceremony houses is only Rs 1.5 crore because a majority of them do not have licences, said a civic revenue official.