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Goa withdraws controversial municipal ordinance amid pressure from merchants

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Panaji, Jan 23 (IANS) The Goa government on Saturday withdrew a controversial amendment made last month to the state’s municipal act, which would phase out the existing leases of stores and shops in municipality run markets in Goa to only ten years.

The amendment had been opposed by merchants across the state, who had even threatened the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government with a day-long strike in protest earlier this week.

The Goa Municipalities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was promulgated last month, had aimed to streamline and restrict the lease of a shop or store in municipal markets, between a merchant and the local municipality to ten years only.

The ordinance had also made sub-letting of shops, by existing lease holders, a non bailable offence with a sentence of three years along with a fine of Rs. 2 lakh.

The new law would impact thousands of stores and shops in 11 municipality jurisdictions in the state.

The All Goa Merchants Association had condemned the ordinance and had later met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and requested him to scrap the new law or face protests.

–IANS

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