Pune: Only three days after Maharashtra's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat announced the implementation of five per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) at restaurants and a helpline for customers to register complaints about extra taxation, it has come to light that the helpline is useless.
Complainants, who call on the helpline, are being asked to register their complaints on e-mail with the GST department, raising questions over the ambitious announcement of the helpline.
Bapat on Tuesday announced that five per cent GST will be implemented across the State from midnight. He also stated that his ministry will monitor the situation and keep a watch on whether restaurant owners pass on the benefit of the tax cut to the customers. Bapat had announced the starting of a special helpline through which customers can register complaints about charging over five per cent GST.
However, though many people are trying to register their complaints with the helpline, they are only being told to e-mail their complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. When contacted, the representative from the helpline stated that while a lot of phone calls are being received to register complaints, they are only being asked to send an e-mail.
“People are calling to complain about restaurants which continue to charge 18 per cent GST or restaurants where the menu price of products has been increased. In both the cases, we ask the complainant to write an e-mail detailing the name of the hotel, the GST details, copies of bills, the name and contact details of the complainant and other relevant details,” the representative explained.
When asked how the complaints are being redressed, the representative stated that the e-mail complaints are not monitored by them. “We cannot comment on how many written complaints are being registered as we handle the helpline and not the e-mail section,” the representative said.
When Sakal Times tried to contact Bapat, he was unavailable for comment on the issue despite repeated attempts to establish contact.