The decision of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) authorities to impose service tax of 12.36% on prices fixed for general and senior citizens, has acted like a pinch to most of these daily morning walkers. Earlier, these citizens used to enjoy morning walk on lush campus of the PAU without paying service tax but now the authorities have decided to impose the additional service tax.
The service tax has been imposed from January 31 and would be applicable for general and senior citizens only. Now, for general citizens and senior citizens, who are not university faculty members or students, the price rate, including all taxes, will be `2,250 and `1125.
The prices before the imposition of service tax were `2,000 and `1,000, respectively. The decision for not allowing walkers on the university campus remains unchanged.
According to Vikas Sharma, a regular walker, said, "The system of setting a fixed price to walk on PAU campus for passers and walkers had begun about seven years ago, with `20 a year. With advancing years, the rates have risen up that has subsequently decreased the number walkers also."
A senior citizen, Saubash Khera maintains, "The PAU is a place where one can breathe well but as the service tax has been imposed, it is forcing us to shell out more just to take a walk. The tax should be withdrawn."
The university students, however, opine that high prices would put a cap on number of walkers and passers on the university campus.
"Although, restrictions have been imposed on walkers but still many do not abide by the rules. There have been many incidents in the past when passerby have been caught urinating in the experimental fields.
It is a good decision,"maintains Sukhpreet Singh, a senior research scholar, PAU. His counterpart Parminder Singh echoes a similar view.
Speaking to estate officer, JS Mahal, over the price rise, he said, "Introducing of service tax on any service offered in any manner is nothing out of the blue. The tax has been added through government policies and it is university's decision".