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punjab: Have industry status, give benefits: Punjab Covid-hit hotels | Chandigarh News



CHANDIGARH: Hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘Hotel, Restaurant and Resorts Association Punjab’ has urged chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi to also extend those benefits to the hospitality sector which have been given to the industrial sector, since hotels were accorded the status of industries in the state in December 2012.
There are approximately 5,000 hotels and resorts in Punjab and they suffered losses to the tune of nearly Rs 17,100 crore during Covid-19 pandemic as they were forced to remain closed for nearly two years. Hotel, Restaurant and Resorts Association Punjab president Satish Arora says that they were given the status of industry on December 12, 2012, and industrial benefits were given in financial year 2015-16, but after that these benefits were suddenly stopped.
“The farmers’ agitation also hit the hospitality industry in Punjab hard as we lost various corporate clients since many companies could not implement their projects here,” said Arora. The association president also claimed that after the Congress government came to power in the state, the hotel industry representatives were never called for any meeting and there was hardly any focus on development of the tourism sector in the state. “Tourists from Gujarat and other destinations pass through Punjab to visit various places in Himachal or Jammu and Kashmir but we have not been able to attract them to showcase the heritage or scenic beauty of our state,” rued Arora.
Employment of nearly 12 lakh families in Punjab depends on the hotel industry, which comes to 9% of the country, the association has claimed in its letter to the chief minister. The hotel industry in Punjab contributes approximately Rs 300 crore towards goods and services tax (GST), nearly Rs 1,250 crore in revenue, and 7% in the gross domestic product (GDP) and they are at the top in generating foreign currency and promoting maximum tourism, the association has submitted.
It has been highlighted that the Congress had claimed in its manifesto five years ago to provide electricity at Rs 5 per unit to the industry, but hotels, restaurants and resorts were paying commercial rates of more than Rs 10 per unit, besides suffering hidden charges like energy charges, monthly minimum charges (MMC) and fix charges, fuel cost adjustment charges, education and infrastructure cess, MCB rent, GST, octroi and cow cess. The second largest burden for the hotel industry is local body expenses that they have to pay yearly, including the property tax, sanitation bills, cow cess and license fee.
The association has pointed out that the assessment fee in bars is also a burden on them and they also should be allowed to purchase liquor from any liquor vendor in the given city so that they are not overcharged by any specific vendor. The hotel industry has also asked for no harassment, besides raids only by senior cops.

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