Pingalwaraa house for the disabled, handicapped, crippled and destitute, is facing the brunt of Punjab governments indifferent attitude. Though the state has exempted many institutes from paying Value Added Tax (VAT), Pingalwara is not among them.
Sources said the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir at Amritsar, Takhat Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, Takhat Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Saboo and Gurdwara Mastuana Sahib, have been exempted from paying VAT. A notification for the same was issued by the Excise and Taxation department in 2006-07.
The All India Pingalwara Charitable Society houses 1,389 inmates who are disabled, handicapped, crippled and destitute, suffering from incurable, terminal diseases and also abandoned children.
In April 2005, VAT replaced sales tax in the state. Since then, the society has received no exemption, which led to increase in expenditure on food items, clothes and medicines for the inmates. We get money through donations and we had written to the state government for exemption but nothing happened.
On June 17, I met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Ratwara Sahib near Chandigarh but he did not give a satisfactory reply, said Inderjit Kaur, president of All India Pingalwara Charitable Society.
I have send representations to the government many times but in vain. I also gave representation to Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhinsa, Punjab Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, MLA Bikramjit Singh Majithia. Majithia gave us a donation of Rs 1 lakh twice but we think he forgot after that, said Kaur.
Administrator of Pingalwara Col Darshan Singh (Retd), said, Our daily expenditure on food, clothes, medicines, education and additional infrastructure is Rs 3 lakh. Our annual budget is around Rs 14 crore and we pay around Rs 20 lakh as VAT per year. Earlier, we were exempted from sales tax. But when VAT was introduced, we were not given any exemption.
We have also requested the state government to exempt us from paying special road tax for our buses which ferry patients, children and other inmates. I met Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal but to no avail, said Kaur.
Commissioner Excise and Taxation, Punjab, A Venuprasad said, The case of Pingalwara for VAT exemption is being examined.