company secretary Francois Binou issued a directive to the health wing stating that no business license applications should be received in person and that the notice would be pasted in all offices for public knowledge.
In addition, the Secretary has opened the health wing for pending business license related files in the officials’ respective online accounts.
The company has warned of disciplinary action against those officials who fail to clean up records within the allotted time. Health officials have been asked to convene a meeting of trader association representatives and communicate to them the need to file business license applications online.
The company board recently suspended the health inspector from jagathy Sreekumaran C circle after his arrest by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Office (VACB) for accepting a bribe in order to issue a business license.
The VACB had arrested the official after he was caught in the act of accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 from a shopkeeper to issue a license for a fruit and vegetable shop in Vazhuthacaud. The mayor said he has been suspended pending an investigation since June 8. The VACB had also raided his house and seized unaccounted money of Rs 2.86 lakh from his house.
The disgraceful act of an official accepting a bribe for a business license also revealed the irregularities in the online system, which were previously reported by TOI.
In the case related to the Jagathy circle office, the official had even lost track of the original application and asked the applicant to file it again. This paved the way for delaying the case and demanding a bribe for the application to be processed. In 2019, the municipality had introduced the online system for business license issuance and renewal. However, physical filing and signing has returned to some areas of the city.
Currently, the digital signature is issued by a health supervisor, resulting in a backlog of records.
This is cited as a practical reason to move to receiving physical copies of applications and then issuing licenses with health inspectors signing the documents.
According to the online system, the applicant is assigned a username and password.
After downloading the documents, the file is sent to the health inspector concerned. The authorized signer will monitor the movement of the files and the digital signature is issued and the license is issued within 15 days of submitting the request.