Meeting with Chief Minister scheduled on Tuesday
The Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) has put on hold its plan to launch a relay strike at the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram from September 16 onwards, as the Chief Minister has assured them of a positive outcome after a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Association secretary G. Jayapal said the Chief Minister had assured them that steps would be taken to eventually open restaurants for dine-in.
The association had planned the strike demanding that the dine-in facility, which had been suspended since late April, be allowed in restaurants. At present, only takeaways and home deliveries are permitted.
“The protest is against the double standards the government is following. Why is there differentiation for restaurants when all other sectors, including trade and tourism as well as public transport, are gradually opening?” said Mr. Jayapal, adding that dine-in was permitted in Assembly canteens, Collectorates, and police and hospital canteens.
There is also the problem of increasing amount of plastic waste. “People who take away food as parcels, especially travellers, behave irresponsibly, resulting in plastic waste mounting . This may have a serious environmental impact,” he said.
Mr. Jayapal said even though their income was much below normal, the restaurants were forced to pay Goods and Services Tax and other taxes. Most restaurants were going through severe financial crisis and the owners as well as employees were on the verge of suicide, he added.
“All we need is a chance to explain our side with the authorities. The government should have discussed with the organisations concerned before implementing the rules. Healthy discussions could have resolved this issue much earlier,” he said.
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