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Bearing the booze brunt

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s budget announcement, that AC bars will have to pay 3% of the tab as service tax has left the watering hole loyalists in the city disappointed.
By Shara Ashraf | Hindustan Times, New Delhi New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2011 02:01 AM IST

It’s news that has taken the fizz out of the drinks of hearty drinkers. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s budget announcement, that AC bars will have to pay 3% of the tab as service tax has left the watering hole loyalists in the city disappointed. This would mean an increase of 3.09% on the total bill amount of the booze, say restaurateurs.

Media planner Dushyant Sinha says, “It will pinch my pockets. I will have to cut down the frequency of my visits to a bar.”

Club owners also feel that the additional tax will affect their business. Sohrab Sitaram, owner, Tabula Rasa, says, “The alcohol prices are already killing. The customer is already burdened with service charge and VAT. This additional service charge will not amuse them.”

Preet Saini, director, Underdoggs Bar & Grill says, “We can’t do much about it. If the government has increased the tax, it will ave to be implemented.” Sitaram says, “The inflation is already killing, cost of raw material is soaring high, while there has not been much increase in the selling price of food. So the customer will have to bear the brunt.”

But there are some who are thinking of ways to make it easier. Samir Chawla of Blues, says “We will approach the government through FHRAI (Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India) and make a request for cutting down the tax."

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