The owners of hotels and marriage palaces in Punjab have decided to move the Punjab and Haryana high court against taxes exclusive to their trade.
Charging the state government with burdening the palace industry only to bring self out of financial crisis, the marriage palace owners stated
here on Saturday that they had nightmares about being forced to commit suicide.
The roof of the Marriage palace at the Damewala vilage in Malout of Muktsar district is collapsing due to the bad maintenance.Kulbir Beera/HT
The businessmen said the week's notice issued to them to fulfil the norms was a "Tughlaqi farmaan (draconian order). The hotel, restaurant, and resort association has sought more than a month to complete the requirements.
"The government shouldn't claim the change of land use (CLU) fee and external development charges (EDC) of more than Rs. 36 lakh an acre from the owners of marriage palaces built before 2007, because the Act for Marriage Palaces was passed only in 2007," said the association's district president, Satish Arora.
A week ago the Punjab marriage palace association met in Bathinda to begin its campaign against the new taxes. On Friday again, it met here and decided to take the battle to the high court.
"The district development authorities have issued a notice to the owners of all marriage palaces to complete the norms within a week," said Arora, "while the state government itself had filed an affidavit in the high court that it would give a month to all concerned after a public notice in newspapers."
The hoteliers also charged the government with charging electricity tariff under commercial-sector rules instead of under industry-sector regulations.
"The government should reduce own expenses instead of trying to live off the common man and industries," said Arora. "In its election manifesto, the ruling alliance had promised to boost industry, and when we took our plea to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, he said, 'Mai ki kar sakda (what can I do)'."
In violation of own affidavit, the state government had issued no public notice or given a month for the fulfilment of requirements, said the hoteliers' association. "Sarkaar andaa khaave, murgi na khaave' (The government should eat the egg, not the hen that lays it)," said Arora. "The owners of marriage palaces are the highest taxpayers inthe industrial sector, yet the government is intent on killing our business."
For every function arranged, they pay tax of up to Rs. 35,000 to the government.