Double whammy for hospitality industry

Troubled times

LPG is getting scarce with city witnessing shortage in cylinder supplies; just before this, hospitality industry in the city suffered a major blow with MCC hiking the trade license up to a thousand times! Post-budget if the LPG gets dearer, citizens may have to shell out amounts twice or three times over to silence hunger pangs at any hotel, writes Preethi Nagaraj

Customers will have to shell out a premium if MCC fails to rollback hike in trade license imposed on hotels, cafes, tea bars and even small eateries .DH photo by Prashant H GThe Mysore City Corporation (MCC) was the giant who slept by the sea shore. The slumber wasn’t disturbed by anything. Whether it was the raging sun during the day, or the cool moon in the night, nothing shook the giant. But, after a gap of one full decade, MCC has suddenly woken up and hiked the trade license by almost 1000 times, causing a huge furore in Mysore’s hospitality industry which saw a bad patch since last few years, owing to less turn out of tourists.

“We have appealed to the Mayor to consider revising the fees. The amount MCC has fixed is not even on par with Bangalore and in most slabs, few categories will end up paying higher than what our counterparts in Bangalore are paying,” says Rajendra, President of Hotel Owners Association, in Mysore.

In case things remain unchanged, the hoteliers will be forced to hike prices of food items too, and this may mean a plate of steamed idlis may even cost more than Rs 50!

And all those who scoffed at high-end Cafes and Tea bars for serving exotic stuff at unbelievable prices, will soon have to shell out nearly a premium to have simple filter coffee and masala tea, at even road side shops or small eateries. Guess what you will be paying? A good Rs 30 for a small cup, if MCC has its way. Notwithstanding the price rise owing to milk getting costlier, and inflation hitting the skies.

Though the rule book says trade license has to be hiked by 10 per cent every five years, MCC for reasons best known, sat on the issue. The increase will cost a few thousands to hoteliers and others in small/big eateries. Star hotels which paid Rs 18,000 so far, will now end up paying Rs 50,000. A hotel with A grade boarding facility, will cough up Rs 30,000 instead of a mere Rs 2400 it paid till now!

Traders had breathed a sigh of relief when MCC announced a scheme of issuing trade license on the spot, without forcing the traders to run from pillar to post to complete the formalities. Hoteliers, new and old, were enthusiastic about obtaining licenses by producing related documents on the spot. Just when the hoteliers thought MCC had come up with some trader-friendly policies, this bombshell of a news hit them. And, many have not taken it very well.

How much?

If this comes into force, chaat centres will have to shell out Rs 5,000, icecream/softdrinks sellers - Rs 1000 - 3000, wine stores will have to pay Rs 25,000 so on and so forth. Best part of this whole exercise is, the MCC has not even given the premise on which these amounts were arrived at!

Though trade license is a must for everyone who is involved in some kind of buying-selling and earning profits in the process, the hoteliers have woken up pretty fast and have condemned this  in no uncertain terms. They have said they would shut hotels all over the city if MCC tries to forcibly close any hotel for not paying the prescribed fees. The war seems to have just begun.

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