The finance department on Tuesday made it clear that the service tax proposed to be levied by the state government is applicable to all commercial helicopter services operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
Commenting on the issue, finance minister Haseeb Drabu said service tax is also being charged on ropeways and cable car services, which carry tourists and pilgrims to not only tourist resorts but also to some revered shrines in the Kashmir valley.
“There is no question of charging such a tax on a particular route,” he said.
“Similar tax is being imposed on chopper services ferrying tourists to exotic spots like Gulmarg and Pahalgam,” he said.
Drabu said levying of service tax only adds Rs 130 to the cost of the chopper ticket on any route in Jammu and Kashmir.
Drabu expressed dismay over the reckless and provocative remarks of some political parties on the issue, whom he accused of trying to communalise a simple administrative order applicable throughout the state.
However, former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday tweeted, Will (12.5% tax) only apply to the Vaishno Devi and Amarnath yatris because there are no other commercial operations in the state.
The imposition of service tax on chopper serives for the Vaishno Devi pilgrims has gathered storm, after the state finance department announced it couple of days back.
The PDP’s coalition partner in the state, BJP along with Congress, National Conference and Panthers Party has opposed the decision.
The Congress and the Panthers party have termed the service tax ‘Jizya’.
Jizya tax was imposed on the Hindus during the rule of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb.