Seek a level playing field while re-opening businesses after the lockdown
Malls in Karnataka lost sales worth ₹2,000 crore every month in the last 15 months, and the State lost revenue of ₹360 crore in the last two months alone, Shopping Centres’ Association of India (SCAI) has claimed.
Nationally, malls have lost up to ₹15,000 crore since the COVID-19 pandemic hit markets in March 2020. In the second wave, so far, the country as a whole lost ₹ 25,000 crore in tax revenue.
Malls in the country employ over 40 lakh people, and 30% of them have lost their jobs, both in retail and food sectors, in the last 15 months. If malls were not allowed to open and operate soon, mall owners and developers won’t be able to hold up further and eventually it would lead to bigger job and revenue losses, cautioned Mukesh Kumar, Chairman, SCAI, an apex body that represents over 650 large malls and more than 1,000 shopping centres under 100,000 sq.ft. in the country.
SCAI on Friday reached out to the government of Karnataka seeking parity and a level playing field while re-opening businesses across the State after the lockdown.
In a letter to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, the apex body said the industry incurred massive financial losses and millions lost jobs. Malls in the State used to employ over 300,000 people and some 30% of those jobs were already lost.
The association pointed out that malls are now better equipped to monitor and control crowds, are capable of ensuring a safe and hygienic environment with the help of a trained workforce that can comply with safety guidelines.
Mr. Kumar further said, “Over 50% of mall owners in the State, and majority of standalone shopping centres are at risk of closure. More jobs will be impacted if support is not extended.”
To help the industry from collapsing, SCAI has sought waiver of rental/lease, property tax, fixed electricity charges, upcoming renewals of existing permits/licences, among other things.
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