Andaman & Nicobar Islands Hospitality Industry Faces Issue Over Higher Electricity Tariffs Despite Relief

-CB Edit Desk

India’s apex hospitality association – Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), has submitted a representation to Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, and to Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari, highlighting issues faced by its member establishments over higher electricity tariffs in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The association has stated that in spite of a favourable order from the Electricity Regulatory Commission, the UT’s electricity department has not been extending the benefit of lower electricity tariff to the MSMEs, especially the hospitality establishments. FHRAI has requested Government urgent intervention to direct the Andaman and Nicobar administration to implement the order. It has requested that the electricity bills raised in contravention to order dated December 2, 2020, be rectified and revised for enabling units to pay the dues at the earliest.

As per the judgement passed by chairperson, joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for the State of Goa and Union Territories, Gurugram dated December 2, 2020; all establishments registered as MSME or having Udyam Registration are to be charged electricity at Industrial rates.

Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president, FHRAI, said, “In its tariff order dated May 31, 2021, the JERC has underscored its order dated December 2, 2020, confirming that all establishments registered as MSMEs having Udyam registration shall be charged electricity at Industrial rates. Despite this, electricity bills of such units are still being raised by the electricity department at commercial rates which is a direct contravention of the JERC order. We request the Hon’ble Minister of Tourism and the Hon’ble Minister of MSME to intervene and support the industry during its most trying times.”

The hospitality industry’s total revenue in FY 2019-20 stood at Rs 1.82 lakh crore and as per estimates, in FY 2020-21 approximately 75 per cent of the industry’s revenues got wiped off. This is more than Rs 1.30 lakh crore revenue hit for the Indian economy. The total loan outstanding to the hospitality industry is over Rs 60,000 crore today.

“Tourism and hospitality sector in the country is going through a harrowing time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector is in dire need of Government’s support in the form of sector specific relief package and waivers, and relaxations of statutory payments. The condition of the industry is all the more serious in regions like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where tourism is the mainstay of the entire economy. Such apathetic attitude of the authorities makes the situation more severe and complex,” concluded Kohli.

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