The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab having called a press conference at Hotel A, Ferozepur Road wishes to put forward the negative impact of the ruling of the Hon’ble Supreme Court for banning sale of Liquor in all Hotels, Restaurants and Bars within 500 metres of the highways. Although we respect the intention of the Hon’ble Apex Court behind this ruling and are against drunk driving, but it has perhaps been overlooked that such a rule would destroy the already burdened Hospitality Industry.
The Hospitality Industry has always extended constructive support to the government for all its progressive reforms and policies. We are the largest employment generator, third largest net foreign exchange earner of the country and play a tremendous role in the growth of the Indian Economy.
HIGHWAYS FALLING BETWEEN CITY LIMITS SHOULD BE DENOTIFIED
There are around 50 small and large hotels and restaurants within the municipal limits of the city of Ludhiana mainly on the road stretching from Samrala Chowk to Ferozepur Road Octroi which was declared a National Highway a few years back. The elevated road project was declared three years ago, but no work has started for it at all.
All these institutions pay Property Tax, House Tax, Water and Sewerage charges etc to the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana. If the road in question is a National Highway, then the above taxes would not fall in the purview of the Corporation. Also the road is maintained by the Municipal Corporation and all small vendors/shops which fall under the flyovers pay their rent to the Corporation itself.
Also speed limits of vehicles is 40 kmph on the above mentioned road, hence it falls within the city limits. The general Highway speed limit is 90 kmph or above which does not apply to this road.
LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT TO HARD WORKING STAFF OF HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
Hundreds of hard working employees have already been made redundant due to this ban. We, Hoteliers, have no answers to their questions for such a step taken by us. Many have been sent on unpaid/ paid leaves to their homes. Everyday more and more staff is being made redundant, as there is no timeline for a solution inspite of many promises by the local, state or the central government.
LIQUOR BAN IS EFFECTING TOURISM AND ALLIED SECTORS
The ban has started affecting the tourism in our city of enterprise and State. Foreigners and national travellers have cancelled their bookings. This has led to large scale revenue losses to an already struggling industry. Not only has this ban affected revenue, employment, loans etc but it has also negatively impacted small scale suppliers for daily hospitality goods like vegetables, poultry, milk, dairy, grocery etc. It has also impacted sectors like transportation, financial services, banking, advertising and marketing etc
LOAN DEFAULTS AND NPA’S FOR HOTELS RESTAURANTS AND BARS
All large and small scale restaurants and hotels have invested hundreds of crores of rupees on the land parcel that has been identified by the state government as per the city master plans. After seeking requisite permissions from the government, they had started construction and put their hard earned earnings in these projects. Hotel Developers and investors have opted for such locations so that they can leverage them as collateral to the financial institutions. Also failure to sell liquor has led to the fall in the star rating of these properties (to maintain star ratings, liquor is one of the factors). Hotels, Restaurants and Bars will start defaulting on their loans and there will soon be a complete shut down of the hospitality industry in the state
HOTEL RESTAURANT AND BARS NEED URGENT RELIEF FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT
Other states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana have already denotified the highways as city roads. It is our humble request to the Respected Chief Minister of Punjab, to do the same for Ludhiana and other cities of Punjab.
The ruling should be reviewed as Hotels, Restaurants and Bars are not a liquor industry. Liquor is a part of the services provided by us. We promote and want responsible drinking and recommend strictest punishments and policing on roads. However, penalising respectable Hotels, Restaurants and Bar which have fallen prey due to this ruling will not be an efficient exercise as any one who wishes to drink can take liquor from their own house or a property which is 550 metres away from the Highway.
Hotels and Restaurants Affected in Ludhiana:
- Hotel Park Plaza
- Hotel Radisson Blu
- Hotel Hyatt Regency`
- Hotel Maharaja Regency
- Hotel Nagpal Regency
- Hotel Regenta
- Hotel Chevron Klassik
- Hotel Indian Summer
- Hotel Friends Regency
- Hotel Palm Court
- Hotel Best Western
- Hotel Parth
- Hotel A
- Hotel Lamellz
- Hotel ONN
- Bistro Flamme Bois
- The Bruu Kiln
- Terminal 5
- Moti Mahal Delux
- District 6
- Satta Bazaar
- Bistro 226