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Tourists visiting Amritsar will now have to pay 'city beautification' tax
December, 19th 2013

Visiting Amritsar is going to be a little expensive for tourists who come here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, Durgiana temple and witness daily flag lowering ceremony at India-Pak international border. A new tax - city beautification fund - would be applicable on tourists staying in hotels.

To arrange funds exclusively for city's beautification, cash-strapped Amritsar municipal corporation has directed hoteliers to charge Rs 200, Rs 100 and Rs 50 per room per day from tourists staying in five, three to four star hotels, and other accommodations, respectively. Confirming the same, AMC commissioner D P S Kharbanda told TOI on Wednesday that the fund would help them maintain a dedicated account for beautification purpose. "The funds would be spent on beautification of parks, installing decorative lights and maintaining gardens." He said that the House has also passed the decision. Like service tax, hoteliers would be required to deposit the tax every month.

However, this decision has not gone down well with hoteliers as well as BJP municipal councillors who have suggested MC to refrain from taking such steps ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Federation of hotel and guesthouse association president Harinder Singh said, "We will oppose this new tax. Even though we have to just collect fund on the basis of occupancy from tourists and deposit it, this would not be a good idea."

He said that on one side MC had declared many hotels "illegal" in the city despite collecting all charges at commercial rates from them, on the other side they directed them to collect tax from tourists.

Throwing his weight behind the hoteliers, MC councillor from ward 25, Jarnail Singh Dhot, said: "Hotel business is already facing a major competition and the new fund would cause more trouble."

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