: The Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association has requested the Prime Minister to abolish service tax levy on air-conditioned hotels and restaurants.

In a letter sent to Dr. Manmohan Singh, the association urged him to withdraw the service tax proposed to be levied in the 2013-14 budget.

In a press statement on Saturday, association president S.P.Jeyapragasam said air-conditioned restaurants were striving to provide safe and hygienic food to public as per the Food Safety and Standards Act-2006 that came into force in August 2011.

“The essential feature of the Act is to see to it that restaurants are free of dust, flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches. Air-conditioned hotels are taking steps for quality and hygiene. Service tax is penalising restaurants,” he stated.

According to Mr.Jeyapragasam, local bodies are not functioning properly and hence garbage is accumulated.

As the drainages were not cleaned, waste water stagnation was leading to breeding of flies and mosquitoes, which spread to business establishments, he added.

“Air-conditioned restaurants were striving to provide safe and hygienic food”