The Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to waive 90% entertainment tax imposed on Kings XI Punjab for the Indian Premier League matches played at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association's (HPCA) picturesque stadium in Dharamsala.
"90% entertainment tax has been waived for the matches played on May 15, 17 and 21 in 2011," a government press release said.
A spokesperson for Kings XI Punjab said the government in 2011 decided to impose 100% entertainment tax for the matches without any notification. "However, in 2012 the government issued a notification and imposed 10% entertainment tax. So we had challenged the 2011 decision," he said.
Official sources said now the financial implication on Kings XI Punjab after reducing the entertainment tax was around `20 lakh. Before 2011, there was no entertainment tax in the state on cricket matches.
The HPCA is headed by Anurag Thakur, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
"Though the government decision came late, it's good that better sense prevailed over the government," HPCA spokesman Sanjay Sharma said.
The cricket stadium is the home ground of Punjab Kings XI which is co-owned by Himachal-born actor Preity Zinta. So far Dharamsala has hosted IPL matches four times, but has seen no IPL action for the past two years, even though the matches boosted tourism in Dharamsala.
Last year, the state government did not give permission for hosting IPL matches here on the plea of ongoing process of the Lok Sabha elections.
Besides, the state government has been at loggerheads with the HPCA over providing security during the IPL matches. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh has said the HPCA need to foot the security bill. The HPCA alleged that in the absence of security, the match organisers were reluctant to hold matches at the stadium that had a seating capacity of 26,000 spectators.
With agency inputs