Shut for 9 months since the COVID-19 lockdown, industry is struggling to keep up maintenance, pay staff, requests govt for nod to reopen
A lit Ferris wheel in an amusement park in Pune
Life for those in the amusement industry, like most sectors, has not been joyous this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while most industries have been gradually allowed to resume business following the Unlock, the amusement industry has remained shut since the March lockdown and is struggling for survival.
The representatives of Indian Association for Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) met Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Monday, requesting him to reopen all amusement, water and theme parks in the state. They have also requested a stimulus from the state government to revive the industry.
Speaking to mid-day, IAAPI Vice Chairman Rajeev Jalnapurkar said Thackeray seemed positive about the reopening of amusement parks in the next notification announcing further unlock.
Jobs of 1.25 lakh affected
"Maharashtra has over 26 amusement parks and innumerable indoor amusement centres that operate out of malls and at tourist destinations. This directly impacts about 20,000 employees on direct local employment and around 1.05 lakh people in indirect employment. The amusement industry is facing survival challenges by way of paying maintenance charges, heavy rental to mall owners and salary/wages to staff."
Jalnapurkar said at the meeting they made the following requests for continuing waiver of minimum/fixed cost charges levied by electricity department for 12 months; provision of water and electricity to the amusement parks for six months on concessional and subsidised rates; waving off of state GST for one year; waiving off of property tax/non agriculture tax/gram panchayat tax of Amusement Park/Water Park/Theme Park for 12 months.
"We have also requested him to extend all existing licences without charges for one year, ending November 30, 2021, and sought an extension on loan moratorium to all units registered under Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the state."
"Lastly, we want to categorise Amusement Parks as an 'industry'. Just like the state government has given hospitality an 'industry' status where water, power and local taxes were waived off during the pandemic time."
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