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Restaurants shut down for a day to protest ‘high taxes’

Restaurants and eateries in Mumbai downed their shutters for 24 hours Monday as part of a nationwide strike to protest taxes levied on them.

Written by Express News Service | Published: April 30, 2013 4:43 am

Restaurants and eateries in Mumbai downed their shutters for 24 hours Monday as part of a nationwide strike to protest taxes levied on them. According to Hotels and Restaurants Association,Western India (HRAWI),95 to 98 per cent of eateries all over India struck work. However,room services for guests at hotels was not stopped.

“The strike was successful as both big and small restaurants from various local and wider associations came together for this cause. We have been able to create awareness about the problems we have been facing. We did this to form a public opinion and force the government to take notice,” said Pradeep Shetty,chairman of HRAWI.

Eateries are protesting 4.94 per cent service tax on fully and partially air-conditioned restaurants. “The government has only been widening the scope of service tax. Initially,only banquet halls were subjected to this. Now,it affects many of us. It is already hard to keep business afloat in the downturn,” said Shetty.

The unions are also against Value Added Tax levied by the state governments and service tax by the central government. “The government needs to come up with a better system wherein either VAT or service tax is levied and the revenue is divided between the two,” said Shetty.

The shutdown left citizens in the lurch. Girish Shukla,a taxi driver near Fort,echoed the problems others in the city faced today. “None of the restaurants is open. I depend on them for lunch. It seems only expensive restaurants are open,” said Shukla.

Traders,wholesalers plan indefinite strike

OVER 750 trader and wholesaler organisations are planning to go on an indefinite strike from Wednesday to protest local body tax (LBT) levied by municipal corporations. All wholesale markets,commercial establishments and retailers will join the bandh. “We are not against paying tax but we don’t want another tax department. This would only mean more harassment and corruption. We have requested the government to increase the VAT to 5.5 per cent instead of levying a new tax regime,” said Ashok Garg,President of Darukhana Iron Steel & Scrap Merchant Association.

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