Dharamsala, September 23
Hoteliers in Dharamsala region have alleged that the tax on tourist vehicles imposed by the state government has adversely impacted tourism.
As per the decision of the state government, contract carriage buses and other tourist vehicles registered in other states and covered under the AITP rules will have to pay additional taxes while entering Himachal. Under the new taxes prescribed by the state for vehicles operating under the AITP rules, tax for a bus (ordinary, semi-deluxe or deluxe) with a seating capacity of 13 to 32 is Rs 3,000 per day, Rs 15,000 per week and Rs 50,000 for a month.
Ashwani Bamba, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Kangra, said that most tourist groups coming from Maharashtra and Gujarat had cancelled bookings. During Diwali tourists from Maharashtra and Gujarat used to visit state and the Dharamsala region. However, due to the tax imposed in the state no travel agent was ready to sell tour packages of Himachal.
Bamba said that earlier tempo traveller coming from Pathankot to Dharamsala used to charge Rs 5,000. However, now due to the tax the tempo traveller would now cost Rs 10,000.
The Union Ministry for Surface Transport had written to principal secretary, transport, of all states to not levy any tax, including passenger tax or border tax on vehicles plying under the All India Tourist Vehicles (permit) rules, 2023.
In a letter written by SK Geeva, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, it has been stated that it has come to notice of the government that states/UTs are levying taxes in the form of passenger tax/border tax/check post tax, etc, from tourist vehicles plying under the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023. The Central government is empowered under section 88 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 to make rules for the purpose of promoting tourism, grant permit in respect of tourism vehicles valid for whole India.
The letter says the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, were made with the objective of seamless and hassle-free movement of tourist vehicles across the country. The states and UTs are advised against levying any other tax on the vehicles registered under All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023, the letter states.
Tourists staying away
- Ashwani Bamba, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Kangra, said that most tourist groups coming from Maharashtra and Gujarat had cancelled bookings
- Earlier, a tempo traveller coming from Pathankot to Dharamsala used to charge Rs 5,000. However, now due to the tax the tempo traveller would now cost Rs 10,000
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