Bakeries and the quaint roadside eating joints to remain shut to protest tax rates under GST.

GST protest Hundreds of restaurants in Bengaluru Chennai stay shut on Tuesday
news GST Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 17:32

For those residents used to grabbing a quick bite at local eateries, here’s bad news. All Bengaluru hotels including bakeries and the quaint roadside eating joints will remain shut on Tuesday till 11 pm.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Hotel Association (BBHA) has called for the closure of all restaurants and eateries as a sign of protest against the tax rates to be levied under the Goods and Services Tax.

Members of the association carried out a protest march from Mysore Bank Circle to Town Hall, demanding that the state government revise the tax rates.

Owners of the businesses gathered at the Town Hall in Bengaluru and also submit memorandum to the state government and the Centre in this regard.

“Bengaluru has over 3,000 registered hotels under the BBHA and they also include darshinis and bakeries. These outlets will be shut till 11 pm and will open only on Wednesday morning. It is a matter of inconvenience for one day. If the tax rates are not reduced, then it will be the customers who will suffer,” said Chandrashekar Hebbar, President of the association.

“This is the first time, we have had to resort to such a drastic measure and shut down business. With the new tax rates, even small outlets and non-AC restaurants will have to pay 12% tax. This will be a major blow to the business as these outlets make profits because of the cheap food prices. They will have to increase the price now, which means that they will have to compete with bigger restaurants,” Hebbar added.

The Centre is all set to roll out the GST on June 1. The Central government proposes to levy 5% tax on small restaurants with an annual turnover of less than Rs 50 lakh, 12% tax on non-AC restaurants with an annual turnover of above Rs 50 lakh.

M Rajendra, president of the Karnataka State Hotel Owners Association, said the decision was limited to Bengaluru and Bengaluru Rural.

“Our association has members from 29 other districts and none of them have decided to shut down. Though we are protesting against the tax hike, only Bengaluru hoteliers have decided to shut down,” he said.

While restaurants affiliated with BBHA remained shut, those affiliated with the Karnataka Hotel Owners Association remained open.

These hoteliers claimed that they had not received any notice from the association to shut down and hence, had decided to remain open.

“If they had objections about the GST rates, they could have opposed much earlier. Why do they have to do a strike now? It is only inconvenience for customers. Why did they not file a memorandum and subit it to the centre earlier?” said Soumya Chatterjee, a resident of Ejipura in Bengaluru.  

Hotels and restaurants from Tamil Nadu are also supporting the bandh.

M Ravi, president of Tamil Nadu Hotel Association said that 5.5 lakh restaurants are shut across Tamil Nadu.

“We want all the ordinary restaurant customers to be charged 5% tax, instead of 12 or 18%. We carried out a protest in Chepauk in Chennai from 9 am to 12 pm. There were close to 500 people in the protest. We have submitted petition to the state as well as the central government. The Central Government has promised to consider our demand,” he added.

While regular restaurant goers were inconvenienced, they decided to side with the protestors.

“As all the restaurants and home delivery is shut today, I will eat at small roadside shops. It causes difficulty for public but what else to do? The cost of eating at restaurant is unaffordable as it is. With the new taxes we cannot even go to small restaurants also. The taxes should be brought down, it is the customers who will suffer,” a resident of Nanganallur in Chennai said.


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