Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday condemned the Centre for imposing a 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on inns, saying it targets the devotion of pilgrims staying at 'sarais' near the Golden Temple.
The GST Council had in June decided that a 12 per cent tax on all hotel rooms below Rs 1,000 per day will be levied. "I strongly condemn the central government's decision of levying 12 per cent GST on 'sarais' located near the Golden Temple. This tax has been imposed on the devotion of pilgrims," he tweeted.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) too had on Monday criticised the government for imposing the tax on the 'sarais' (inns). It said after receiving a notification from the GST council, the SGPC had begun to charge 12 per cent GST on the room tariff of these inns provided to devotees visiting the Golden Temple.
The apex gurdwara body said lakhs of pilgrims from across the world visit the Golden Temple to pay obeisance every day and the Sikh body had made arrangements for their stay. "But sadly, the government of India has put an additional burden on 'sangat' (congregation) by imposing GST on 'serais' (inns)," SGPC assistant secretary (media) Kulwinder Singh had said.
The inns built by the SGPC for the convenience of pilgrims arriving at the gurdwaras are not commercial properties and therefore, any kind of tax on them is an injustice, the SGPC had said.
Meanwhile, Bathinda MP and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the GST, saying the move has left the Sikh community shocked.
"Central govt decision to impose 12 % GST on accommodation charges in 3 'Serais' run by SGPC outside Sri Darbar Sahib premises has shocked Sikh community. These Serais cater to devotees from across the world & are non profit institutions. I request PM @NarendraModi not to tax devotion of pilgrims & revoke this totally unjustified decision," she tweeted.
(With PTI Inputs)