BMC yet to clear hotel bills for services availed during lockdown: H&RA
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The Hotel & Restaurant Association (H&RA) Western India, an apex body is upset with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for not clearing dues of services availed for quarantine purpose, for doctors, health workers and other essential service providers stay during the lockdown.

A letter has been written to the BMC's additional municipal commissioner (AMC) Suresh Kakani by the newly appointed president Sherry Bhatia. In the letter, Bhatia states, "Our member hotels are facing extreme harassment at all ward levels on the issue of payment of GST, Star Categorisation/Classification and Meals etc. Although the notification clearly speaks for itself as regards to the GST payment to be additional, the wards while clearing the payments are not paying the GST separately, as is applicable under law. Also, the wards are making payments to hotels and the rate fixed for unstar hotels, which is unfair and unreasonable, as such a price goes below Rs 1500/- with food and the same is not acceptable for hotels, which are centrally air conditioned and have rooms with air conditioned facilities and such other enhanced amenities."

While it also suggested that in the absence of any star category classification certificates, the Association should be allowed to certify such hotels according to facilities.

Paramjit Ghai Joint Secretary of H&RA said that BMC is making the payment based on the stamp duty ready reckoner rates, which is wrong. "The BMC is not following their own revised rate card which has been set for payments to the hotels. During meeting with Civic Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal the same was brought to his notice and he too accepted that payments should not be made as such, but still there is no action." About 188 hotels were occupied by BMC during the initial COVID lockdown phases, however, only a handful of hoteliers received payments while a majority of them are still struggling to get their dues, alleged Ghai.

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal remained unavailable for any comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, the H&RA has also appealed BMC to remove the restriction imposed on restaurants and Bars in regards to the operating timings, which is affecting their business at present. The Association has demanded they should be allowed to operate like earlier; till 01:30 am.

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