CHANDIGARH: The “Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Association” has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic Punjab‚ÄúDemanded Prime Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to extend the benefits granted to the industrial sector to the hospitality sector as hotels gained industrial company status in the country in December 2012.
There are approximately 5,000 hotels and resorts in Punjab and they suffered losses of nearly Rs.17,100 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic as they were forced to remain closed for nearly two years. President of the Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Association Punjab Satish Arora says they were granted industry status on December 12, 2012 and were granted industry benefits in fiscal year 2015-16, but after that these benefits suddenly stopped.
“The agitation of the farmers has also hit the hospitality industry hard in Punjab, as we have lost various corporate customers because many companies were unable to implement their projects here,” said Arora. The association president also claimed that after the congressional government came to power in the state, hotel representatives were never called to a meeting and there was little focus on developing the state’s tourism sector. “Tourists from Gujarat and other destinations cross Punjab to visit different locations in Himachal or Jammu and Kashmir, but we couldn’t attract them to showcase the heritage or scenic beauty of our state,” rowed Arora.
The employment of nearly 12 lakh families in Punjab depends on the hotel industry, which accounts for 9% of the country, the association claims in its letter to the prime minister. The hotel industry in Punjab contributes approximately Rs300 billion to goods and services tax (GST), nearly Rs.1,250 billion in revenue and 7% of gross domestic product (GDP) and is a leader in generating foreign exchange and promoting maximum tourism, submitted the association.
It was highlighted that five years ago in its manifesto, Congress claimed to provide electricity to the industry for Rs 5 per unit, but hotels, restaurants, and resorts paid commercial rates in excess of Rs 10 per unit, excluding hidden fees such as energy fees, monthly minimum fees (MMC) and fixed fees, fuel cost adjustment fees, education and infrastructure fees, MCB rent, GST, octroi and cow taxes. The second largest burden on the hospitality industry is the annual expenses of local corporations, including property tax, sewer fees, cow withdrawal fees, and royalties.
The association has advised that the evaluation fee in bars is a burden on them as well and should also be allowed to buy liquor from any liquor seller in each city so as not to be inflated by a particular seller. The hotel industry does not demand any harassment, except for raids only by high-ranking police officers.