THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After the implementation of GST, students are suddenly finding it a bit difficult to eat out as the price of the food has gone up. The goods and service tax GST is charged 18% now in the air conditioned restaurants, where the earlier charge had been 6% only, according to the restaurant owners.

Some college students who have been for lunch with friends said that everywhere they encountered price hike. To their dismay, the hotels are charging 18% on the existing price without even being aware of why they are doing so.

Some famous restaurant chain of Thiruvananthapuram has stated that reducing price is not possible. The raw materials like chicken which does not come taxed with GST have not gone down in price.

The restaurants that had been charging 6% earlier now have been forced to charge 18% because of air conditioning. Due to this, the business has slowed a lot, say the restaurant owners.

The business has noticeably decreased says the owner of a famous restaurant chain Zam Zam. The customers get angry at the restaurant owners for charging GST. They even ask to see the specific Government order.

For AC takeaways the price has been increased as well. Earlier the restaurants had been charging 6%; now the tax has gone as high as 12%. However, now the rates are said to be going as high as 18%. This is truly a significant change, and it comes with confusion as well.

Some non air conditioned restaurants, however, have not charged 12% price increase yet. They say the time to increase the price would be in August.

Before GST had been implemented, the restaurants used to pay 0.5% tax. Because of the situation, an association representing restaurant owners is campaigning outside the parliament. They are demanding to reduce the percentage of tax.