Catering industry suffers huge losses

Tent dealers urge government to allow gatherings of up to 100 persons

Catering industry suffers huge losses

Tent dealers and caterers stage a protest in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Ashwani Dhiman

Shivani Bhakoo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15

Suffering huge losses during the pandemic, tent and catering dealers in the state have requested the government to allow gatherings up to 100 people so that their businesses could be saved and they earn a livelihood. Further, they have also requested the Central Government not to impose 18 per cent GST on tent and decoration services as in the past six months, they have not been able to earn anything.

Tent house owners and caterers in the state are on a two-day strike and they have shut their shops and business outlets.

Talking to The Tribune, Shiv Shankar Rai, general secretary, Ludhiana Tent Dealers’ Welfare Association, said there were about 400 members in the association and half of the members used to earn up to Rs 1 crore annually while others earned anywhere between Rs 20-50 lakhs, depending on facilities they offered.

“However, in May and June, there were no weddings, religious or political functions or rallies.

Now again, we have a limited time for this season in October and November and we want the government to at least allow gatherings of 100 persons so that our services are hired and we are able to make up for the losses to a certain extent. Sometimes, small gatherings are held due to restrictions at banquet halls, farm houses, etc, for which their services are not taken. The state government should relax the restrictions on the number of guests,” said Rai, adding that the GST of about 18 per cent was also pinching and they should be exempted from it. If it is not possible, the GST should be on a par with caterers (5 per cent).

Businesses of marriage palaces, tent houses, decorators, DJs, caterers, are badly hit due to the ongoing crisis. Since social distancing has to be maintained, people themselves have started avoiding going to parties and get-togethers. Most of the people prefer to postpone their events till the situation is improved.

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