Gangtok, March 20: The Sikkim Hotel & Restaurant Association (SHRA), an apex body that represents all hotels and restaurants in the state of Sikkim, released a memorandum to the Government of Sikkim about the effects on the restaurant and hotel industry in Sikkim after the outbreak of the COVID-19. Tourism and its related activities are a major industry of Sikkim that contributes most to the employment of youth, revenue generation and the overall economic development in Sikkim. But since the outbreak of COVID-19 in more than 100 countries including India, there has been a devastating effect on business, especially in Sikkim.
SHRA, in this memorandum, pleaded to the state Government to support the hospitality industry with measures to reduce this devastating impact. The members of SHRA have pledged their full support to the Government at this time of crisis but there also has been a huge loss to the hospitality industry. SHRA in this memorandum presented the Government with some points to consider:
- As many hotel owners have taken loans from financial institutions and given the current situation, it has become hard for them to pay the interest and bank EMIs with no business. SHRA has requested the Government to advise all Banks to consider the situation and defer the EMIs and till interest till the situation becomes normal. They have also requested the Government to write to Banks and financial institutions mentioning CIBL of the borrower should not be affected in the current business environment.
- SHRA has requested that SGST (State Goods & Services Tax) be waived off for February and March till normalcy resumes and also the State Government write to the Central Government to waive off the CGST (Central Goods & Services Tax).
- A waiver of renewal fees for license/permits (such as Trade License Renewal and Garbage Fees, Health License Fees, Labor License Fees, Excise License Fee & Electricity bills for the hotel and restaurant industry across the State till normalcy returns has been pleaded. The amount of electricity bill and License Fee can be put into supporting employees with salary until this crisis is over.
- A complete GST Tax Holiday for the Tourism, Travel & Hospitality Industry for the next twelve months till the time recovery happens.
- An immediate sanction of funds, and/or to reimburse PF, ESIC, Professional Tax, salaries of employees in the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry till the time revival happens.
- Advisory and Appeal to Hotel Owners who have leased out hotels to reduce lease amount payable by the lessee in good faith and on humanitarian grounds.
“At this time of crisis, all hotels are empty and supporting their employees with no business at all. SHRA appeals to the State Government to take the above measures in this hour of grave crisis. It would also be a positive move on the Government’s part, providing comfort and confidence to business owners and stakeholders in the hospitality industry which has been devastated by the current situation,” said Raj Lama, General Secretary of SHRA.