Right to earn livelihood, pleads HRAWI

Citing the unfortunate death of Virar-based hotelier who committed suicide a few days ago due to loss of livelihood, The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has expressed anguish against the unfair and unjustified imposition of restrictions on hotels and restaurants in the State. The hotelier was being hounded by debtors and with no means or source of income to pay off the same, was coerced into taking his own life.

HRAWI has voiced out that hotel and restaurants owners are being pushed to the edge by restricting their right to livelihoods. The Association has pleaded that they either be allowed to run their businesses as usual or if not, at least be offered reliefs and waivers by the Government to unburden them from statutory financial obligations. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incidence. Over the last year and a half, other similar incidents have occurred and the underlying reason has been the same. Financial loss caused by the lockdown and the continued restrictions has taken away the right of earning a livelihood. The industry is going through a very tough phase with no respite in sight. Hotel and restaurant owners are grappling with several issues including loss of business, payment of salaries, maintenance of the property, and the additional burden of rent, license fees, taxes, statutory fees, utility bills. This is leading to indescribable mental stress and is forcing entrepreneurs to take drastic steps,” says Sherry Bhatia, President, HRAWI.

The Association has requested for revision in timings and protocols to operate restaurants without restrictions in cities and districts with very low COVID19 cases. It has requested that restaurants falling under level 2 or 1 be allowed to operate as per the timings permitted under respective licenses. The HRAWI has asked that restaurants be allowed to operate through the week between 7 am and 12:30 am including Saturdays and Sundays.

“The industry should be offered financial relief in terms of license fees and other statutory obligations for the losses suffered since the beginning of the pandemic. Also, restaurants should now be allowed to remain open daily from 7 am to 12:30 am including weekends. There is no reason why we aren’t being allowed to, at present. The Government needs to instil confidence amongst business owners and offer hope by allowing them to earn their livelihoods and to those who depend on them for their livelihoods,” concludes Pradeep Shetty, Senior Vice President, HRAWI.