The Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI), an apex body representing the interests of amusement parks, theme parks, water parks and indoor amusement centres, has sought immediate government intervention including a stimulus package to deal with the impact of the pandemic and lockdown.

Per the advisory issued by Labour Secretary Heeralal Samariya, the IAAPI has requested all its members not to terminate employees and to pay the wages and salaries of permanent and contractual labours without any deductions for March 2020, it said, adding that they will continue to do so till the lockdown is lifted.

The amusement industry plays a major role in creating employment, both directly and through ancillary/related industries such as hospitality, food & beverage, and transport industry, said the association in a statement. It helps create an economic multiplier effect, it added.

“The industry is now struggling for its survival,” noted Ajay Sarin, IAAPI Chairman.

Rajeev Jalnapurkar, Vice-Chairman, IAAPI, and CEO, Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, said: “The industry employs over 80,000 people directly, hires more than 5,000 people seasonally, indirectly supports various other industries, besides lakhs of others including local communities. Even after the lockdown is lifted, there is no clarity from the government on how it will ensure our survival and revival.”

Peak season lost

The industry has lost it peak season and this will be followed by a long off-season, said the statement. Even after the lockdown is lifted, the amusement industry will not see footfalls since there will be fear over crowded places and travel will be restricted, it added.

The amusement park industry has sought rescue measures including reducing fixed operating expenses significantly in the immediate term until consumption bounces back. With no revenues due to suspension of operations, the amusement park industry is running out of working capital and is finding it difficult to meet its financial obligations such as staff salaries, advance tax, GST, PF, ESI, and other state levies, loan interest and instalment payments, said the statement.

The association sought a complete GST holiday for 12 months, deferment of fiscal statutory compliance deadlines, and deferment for six months in payment of direct or indirect taxes of all statutory dues — advance payment of taxes, PF, ESIC, etc — at both Central and State levels.

Other demands include a 12-month moratorium on payments to financial institutions, fiscal support for salaries, concessional pricing for water and electricity and lower rate of income-tax.