Hyderabad: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Department is now coming down hard on Haleem vendors. Officials suspect that many of the Haleem outlets set up in the city have been evading taxes. They have identified at least 80 top restaurants and over 100 other outlets that have been benefiting in profits without generating any bills, the sources said.

The business of Haleem in the city goes up to a whopping Rs 800 crore. Hyderabad’s Haleem got the tag of a geographical indicator. It is a specialty that is being exported to many countries of the world. Many cooks are taken from Hyderabad to places like Dubai, The US, Canada and many others to set up stalls that sell fresh Haleem.

The GST Intelligence has been verifying the Volume of income of these establishments. With no proper bills, they have seen a huge evasion of taxes. As per the act, business should send in their GST retur every three months, but It was noticed That most establishments that gave their GST returns did not include the volume of Haleem business.

“There are around 5,000 units of various restaurants, hotels and individuals setting up makeshift haleem-selling centres in the city. Usually, during Haleem season biryani sales fall. Haleem selling units create large employment where thousands depend on it,” Hyderabad Haleem Makers Association President M A Majeed told TOI. But unlike when GST on food was 14.5% and people would have found it tough to pay the tax, now with GST only 5%, all haleem outlets would be ready to pay, Majeed said.

“Most orders are on food apps such as Swiggy, Zomato and Uber Eats. Obviously, they are billed. But those individuals who sell it from makeshift units are very poor and want to make some money during the season,” Majeed said.

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