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12% GST on inns targets devotion of pilgrims at Golden Temple sarais: Mann

12% GST on inns targets devotion of pilgrims at Golden Temple sarais: Mann

Calling the decision arbitrary and irrational, Mann later issued a statement saying the ‘sarais’, including the Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Niwas and the Mata Bhag Kaur Niwas, were associated with the Golden Temple.

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.

Calling the decision arbitrary and irrational, Mann later issued a statement saying the ‘sarais’, including the Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Niwas and the Mata Bhag Kaur Niwas, were associated with the Golden Temple.

These ‘sarais’ are meant for accommodation of devotees visiting the holy shrine and have always been an integral part of the gurdwara complex, the chief minister said. “For decades, these ‘sarais’ have been providing comfortable stay to ‘sangat’ arriving at Sri Darbar Sahib on a no-profit basis,” he said.

Mann said the levying of GST on room charges of these three ‘sarais’ will lead to higher tariffs, thereby putting a huge burden on the pockets of the pilgrims who come to the Golden Temple from across the globe.

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. “But sadly, the government of India has put an additional burden on ‘sangat’ (congregation) by imposing GST on ‘sarais’ (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.

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