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Covid second wave: Bengaluru hotels demand cut in property tax, electricity bills as crisis hits business

Among other demands put forth by the BBHA are 50 per cent exemption in license charges of the Pollution Control Board, Food Safety and charges levied as per the Karnataka Shops and Establishment Act.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: April 18, 2021 11:06:30 am
The state government had announced a night curfew in place from April 10 to 20, earlier last week, directing all shops and commercial establishments to close business before 10 pm.

Amid restrictions in place due to the ongoing second wave, owners of hotels, restaurants, and pubs in Bengaluru have demanded the state government to cut property tax, fixed charges in electricity bills, and exemption in excise license rates to help them survive in the industry.

According to a letter addressed to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, President of Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association (BBHA) P C Rao mentioned, “While the hotel industry is yet to resurrect from the losses experienced during the coronavirus-induced lockdown last year, the second wave has hit the industry again. The 50 per cent seating rule and night curfew have further burdened us with more losses this time.”

Among other demands put forth by the BBHA are 50 per cent exemption in license charges of the Pollution Control Board, Food Safety and charges levied as per the Karnataka Shops and Establishment Act.

Further, speaking to Indianexpress.com, Rao said, “While we support the government’s steps to contain the pandemic, one can not ignore the fact that we are experiencing an estimated 30 per cent loss of business due to the restrictions in place due now.”

The state government had announced a night curfew in place from April 10 to 20, earlier last week, directing all shops and commercial establishments to close business before 10 pm.

At the same time, BBHA members have reiterated their demand to include employees working in the hospitality sector to be identified as frontline workers and to provide them with free vaccination.

“We have been serving people even when we were risking the lives of ourselves and our families. We have catered to several millions of travellers, migrant labourers, and others who were forced to travel for survival during the lockdown days and thereafter as well. Despite this, the government is yet to identify our services even when we are ready to give hotel spaces to function as Covid Care Centres to combat the second wave,” a hotel owner in Koramangala said.

Earlier last month, the association had written to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan demanding free Covid-19 vaccine. “We have not received any update on this yet,” the hotel owner added.

To date, over 11 lakh people have contracted Covid-19 in Karnataka since March 8 last year. Of these, over 1.43 lakh infections have been reported in the state since March 1, 2021. At the same time, the cumulative tally in Bengaluru alone crossed the 5 lakh-mark on Wednesday. At least 4933 fatalities have been reported from the state capital, as on April 14, 2021.

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