Maharashtra govt should act on reopening of restaurants on which 60 lakh families are dependent: AHAR

The government had clarified on September 2 that restaurants are not allowed to open in the state and that restaurants inside hotels are allowed to operate for only in house guests.

New Delhi: The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) said on Tuesday the Maharashtra government should act swiftly on the reopening of restaurants as the segment affects 60 lakh families.

Representing the industry, AHAR said it voiced these concerns during 'high level' meetings with Maharashtra state ministers and leaders and said it is now critical for the restaurants to reopen in the state.

The government had clarified on September 2 that restaurants are not allowed to open in the state and that restaurants inside hotels are allowed to operate for only in house guests.


AHAR said the restaurant industry is the second largest employment provider with 60 lakh direct jobs and 2 crore indirect jobs but has been severely wrecked with the lockdown entering the seventh month.

"With the bank moratorium relief getting over last month, it has only added to the woes, since those who have been regularly honoring their EMIs till pre-covid times have started defaulting. The industry has been taking care of its staff by providing food and shelter but with almost no business it is becoming difficult to sustain," AHAR stated.

"For the past six months the restaurants have not been allowed to operate, yet the government expects these restaurants to pay in full the licence fee which is close to Rs 8 lakh per year. AHAR is confident that that government will look into this and give the necessary relief. AHAR also estimates that 35 - 40% of restaurants will close down and about 60% of the high end restaurants will shut down due to high rentals in the state," it added.
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AHAR said it put forth these concerns during its meetings with prominent leaders and ministers like NCP chief Sharad Pawar, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, state revenue minister and Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, state excise minister Dilip Walse-Patil, consumer affairs minister Chhagan Bhujbal, state industry minister Subhash Desai among others. The association said the ministers expressed concern over the situation and were in support of restaurants reopening in the state.

Shivanand Shetty, president, AHAR said, “We are witnessing unprecedented times resulting in huge losses and the industry is looking up to the state government for timely action so there are no more damages to the industry which would have its own set of challenges once the lockdown is over. We are sure that our meeting with the state leaders and ministers will give the desired results in the days to come."
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