The Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) today reached out to the Karnataka Government with an appeal to give parity and level playing field while opening business across the state. In a letter to the Chief Minister Shri. B.S. Yediyurappa, the industry body highlighted the massive financial loss incurred, millions of jobs impacted and at stake while seeking financial reliefs that are becoming necessary for the very survival of the industry. SCAI said that almost 80% employees working in malls, shops, restaurants and service sectors typically belong from economically weaker sections and get directly impacted with such disruption in businesses.
The association pointed out that malls are better equipped to monitor and control crowds, ensure a safe and hygienic environment and have trained workforce to effectively implement SoP guidelines laid down by MHA/MOHFW as well as State Government. SCAI also shared that its members have been following all the rules laid out by MHA/CPWD for central air conditioning in compliance with the guidelines issued by the authorities to ensure the safety of the visitors.
Mukesh Kumar, Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India said, “Over 50% of mall owners, majority of standalone shopping centres are at risk of closure. More than 25% of jobs attached to the industry will also be impacted if support is not extended. To help the industry from collapsing, we urge the Karnataka government to provide waivers around rental/lease amount of shopping centre buildings owned by the government, property taxes payment till January, 2022, fixed electricity charges, upcoming renewals of existing permits/licenses/NOCs among others required for running of malls, retail stores and F&B outlets. We have also asked for support around Minimum Wages rates and Guard-board payments until FY 2021-22. We request the government to allow mall operations in Phase 1 of Unlock and urge them for their bold intervention to save the industry and thousands of jobs & livelihoods attached to each mall in the state.”
In its representation, SCAI said the delayed opening of malls last year had resulted in massive loss of revenue to the sector as well as Government. SCAI asserted that malls continued to be affected during reopening due to low footfalls and sales and the impact was evident from the decrease in revenue and collections, which adversely impacted GST & other statutory payments to the government. The industry body also gave the example of support extended by Gujarat government by giving some moratorium relief and urged the Karnataka government to help the industry from irreversible business dents.
SCAI also assured the government that malls have been making all efforts towards vaccination for all retail and mall staff ahead of reopening. The industry body has also recommended to utilize mall infrastructure to vaccinate entire neighbourhood wherever malls are located as many states have already taken advantage of this offer by setting up vaccination camps.
SCAI has repeatedly assured the government of its commitment as an industry body to ensure the safety of citizens. The entire industry has continued to support the government at all times, adhering to all protocols laid down for creating and ensuring a safe environment.
The apex body of shopping centres / malls, Shopping Centres Association of India represents 650+ large malls and more than 1000 malls under 100,000 sq ft in India.