Vikramaditya Singh, hoteliers meet CM, demand financial package to cover losses due to COVID-19
Say the government should pay minimum wage to all hotel employees during the lockdownUpdated: May 23, 2020 15:34 IST
Shimla (rural) legislator Vikramaditya Singh accompanied by a three-member delegation of the Himachal Pradesh’s hotel and tourism industry met chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and demanded a financial package as the industry had taken a setback during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Singh said that for the last three months tourism units had not been able to generate any revenue and can no longer continue to pay fixed costs such as salaries, electricity and water charges and other taxes.
He told the CM that￼ immediate relief was required to ensure the survival of the tourism industry in Himachal, which had already missed the peak season.
Shimla hotel and restaurant association president Sanjay Sood said if relief was not provided immediately then hotels will be forced to close and several businesses indirectly associated with tourism will suffer irreparable loss leading to mass unemployment in the state.
The delegation has demanded that a financial package be given to all hotels to cover business losses incurred during lockdown period by way of interest-free loans from the State Cooperative Bank and other state owned banks, waiver of interest on existing term loans and cash credit (CC) limits availed from different banks and extension of existing term loans and CC limit with no requirement of fresh and additional collaterals.
No electricity and water charges should be taken from hotels, which have been closed since lockdown, the delegation demanded.
“All fixed taxes, cess and license fees should be waived for the lockdown period. The government should pay minimum wage to all hotel employees during the lockdown,” they told the CM.
Around 50,000 employees are working in tourism units of the private and government sector.
“The total amount will be less than 50 crore per month, which should be paid by way of direct transfer to all employees of tourism units.
Goods and services tax (GST) should be reduced to 9% for two years after the lockdown opens to encourage revival of tourism in HP. Hotels should be allowed to charge 9% as ‘Covid - 19 surcharge’ to bills of visiting customers to make up for drop in sale during the lockdown,” they said.
‘EXPEDITE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS’
“Completion of tourism-linked infrastructure such as helipads, National highways (NH), state highways and link roads should be expedited,” they suggested.
“A special budget should be announced for marketing Himachal as a safe travel destination to revive tourism,” the delegation said.
The CM assured them that the government will soon announce all possible relief for the survival and revival of tourism industry in the state.