‘Lakhanpur toll tax additional burden on common man’

‘Lakhanpur toll tax additional burden on common man’

SRINAGAR: The hoteliers of Katra and Patnitop have said they will oppose tooth and nail the imposition of toll tax at Lakhanpur.
Terming the tax as additional burden on common man, they said the government by taking toll tax is going against its own policy of One Nation One Tax and is doing “principally total illegal act”.
According to a statement, the “unanimous” decision was taken after a joint meeting of Hotel & Restaurant Association Katra (HRAK) & Hotel Bar & Restaurant Association of Patnitop (HBRAP) held at Katra on Sunday under the chairmanship of Rakesh Wazir President, Shyam Lal Kesar Chairman (HRAK) and Kushal Magotra President (HBRAP).
Rakesh Wazir while speaking on the occasion said, “It is really surprising that an institution like government can refrain from its own stand.”
He reminded that when GST was introduced in the State, there was great resentment against it because there was no tax on most of the sectors including service sector in J&K.
“People were assured that with GST no other tax will be charged and charging of taxes at Lakhanpur will be stopped but instead of passing of that long period and imposing of GST, the collection of toll tax is going on and each and every person of the State is being forced to pay an additional tax in the name of toll,” he said.
Wazir further said that “a common person is forced to pay double tax on each and every thing which is coming from outside State”. “Since our State is mostly dependent on outside state items, a common person does not even come to know that he is paying double tax for most of the items even while purchasing those at far flung areas. The biggest example of that is cement the one bag of which is being charged with tax of Rs 50 extra which is in addition to GST and is more in comparison to other states and same is the condition with other items as well. This is highly objectionable,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Shyam Lal Kesar said if government is so keen on taking the toll tax then it should shun the GST because government cannot go against its own policy of One Nation One Tax which is prevailing all over India while J&K is the only exception where people are paying GST and simultaneously the toll tax also.
“If it continues, then how government can dictate private people for violations of the commitments made,” Kesar said. “If some industry people have concerns, the government should sit with them and settle things accordingly but the whole State cannot be put on ransom.”
In his address, Kushal Magotra said, “The hotel industry was in the bracket of zero tax prior to coming of GST but it had suffered a lot first by the coming of GST wherein taxes were imposed from 12% to 28% and then by double taxing by which we are purchasing items at higher rates in comparison to other states due to toll tax at Lakhanpur which is in addition to GST and would not be tolerated.”
He sought the “immediate” intervention of central and state government for the removal of the toll tax saying, “Leave aside the burden on general public, it is an embarrassment for even the government”.
The meeting among others was attended by association’s senior vice president Virender Kesar, vice presidents Nishant Sharma, Rohit Dubey, Ajay Kotwal, Meena Wazir, Vivek Sharma, Amit Rahi, and Secretary Sudershan Sharma.