LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday called upon the provincial food authorities to stop harassing restaurant owners by conducting raids along with large contingents of police.
LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar made the appeal in a meeting with All Pakistan Restaurants Association (APRA) President Shahid Butt at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday.
He said that the LCCI was totally against corrupt elements in society and would continue to support every government action that was for the betterment of society at large, but would not allow the disturbance of smooth businesses.
He suggested the government to issue guidelines for restaurants with a timeframe to implement those guidelines in letter and spirit.
He said that in the absence of any clear-cut guidelines, the government or the food authorities had no right to conduct raids and harass genuine businessmen.
The APRA president informed the LCCI VP that they had approached the chamber only to seek its help against such government actions that were bound to force closure of a number of reputed restaurants in the city.
He said that it was very unfortunate the authorities concerned had failed to evaluate the impact of police raids on a restaurant, “because it takes years to win reputation that goes into the drain in a matter of minutes”.
Shahid Butt said that they were planning to close their business because nobody was paying any attention to their hue and cry.
He said that the raids would not only result in closure of businesses but also dent the government’s reputation, as hundreds of thousands of unskilled and skilled people would lose their jobs, who otherwise were earning their bread and butter respectfully.
He said that it was also very unfortunate that police were being sent to such places where often families were sitting. He said that if there was any complaint against any particular restaurant, there should be some procedure to initiate action. “We are actually trying to implement Western standards without having any knowledge of their working methodology.”
He said that it would have been wiser on part of the government that it forewarned the people associated with the hospitality industry and then launched an operation.
He said that a person who had made a lot of investment to establish a hotel in some posh area would be in a deep trouble following a police raid, as a large number of well-to-do families would stop dinning there only because of the government’s campaign in the name of cleanliness.
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