Now, hotel, bar owners in Punjab seek relaxations from excise dept
They are demanding exemption in paying the licence fee and other charges for three months from April to June.Updated: May 20, 2020 23:26 IST
After liquor traders, owners of hotels, restaurants and bars in Punjab are also seeking relaxations from the excise department for loss in business they have suffered due to lockdown imposed since March 23 to check the spread of COVID-19.
They are demanding exemption in paying the licence fee and other charges for three months from April to June.
“We have to deposit an average sum of Rs 4.6 lakh to renew the annual licence to sell liquor and beer (Rs 4 lakh for serving liquor and Rs 60,000 for beer). However, there’s no sale as restaurants, bars and clubs have been shut for the past two months and there’s no hope for our business to revive soon,” said Amanvir Singh, president, Punjab Hotels and Restaurants Association. The charges for luxury hotels are even higher, he added.
Singh said, “We had approached the officials of the excise department to seek exemption of licence fee and other charges for three months from April to June, but they are forcing us to deposit the entire charges applicable.”
He said there are at least 10,000 hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars in the state that sell liquor and beer. There are 4,000 marriage palaces in the state, which are also members of the association.
Excise and taxation commissioner VP Singh said his department is aware of the issue and would soon work out a solution. He, however, said the number of clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants in the state is not as huge as claimed by Singh.
Cabinet minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, who is part of the group of ministers (GoM) constituted to hear the grievances of liquor contractors, said that the GoM would also hold meetings with the hotel and bar owners. Besides Sarkaria, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and education minister Vijayinder Singla are in the GOM.
GoM TO SUBMIT REPORT ON CONTRACTORS’ DEMANDS THIS WEEK
Meanwhile, the GoM is meeting liquor contractors of all seven excise divisions of the state to hear their grievances in the wake of the lockdown.
Sarkaria said they would conclude the talks on Thursday and the GoM would submit its report to the CM, who heads excise and taxation department, by the end of this week.