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GST on SGPC inns around Golden Temple kicks up political storm


CHANDIGARH: The Centre has imposed a 12% GST on inns (serais where the devotees stay) managed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) located outside the Golden Temple complex. However, no such tax is applicable on the inns run by the Durgiana temple committee located near the Golden Temple.

Describing the decision as arbitrary, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Shiromani Akali Dal MP and former Union minister Harsimrat Badal demanded that it be rolled back. Sources said the additional GST is applicable on three SGPC-run inns at Baba Deep Singh Yatri Niwas, Mata Bhag Kaur Niwas and Sri Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas all located outside the shrine premises. There is no new tax on the inns located within the Golden Temple complex.

The current rates for one-room accommodation per day at Sri Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas is now Rs 784 – up from Rs 700, at Baba Deep Singh Niwas, the revised rate stands at Rs 560 from Rs 500 and at Mata Bhag Kaur, the current rate is Rs 336, up from Rs 300.

Golden Temple manager Sulakhan Singh said the Centre, while justifying an additional GST on these inns, has said that they are outside the temple complex. “Yet these are meant for devotees,” said Sulakhan.
Sources said the Durgiana temple management has two inns, one built within the complex and the other outside. The Durgiana Yatri Niwas with 28 rooms is located outside the temple premises at Gol Bagh where the room charge is Rs 800 without taxes. The Shrimati Dhanwant Kaur Dharamshala is within the temple complex.

Mann said the sarais are associated with the Golden Temple and have always been an integral part of the complex. He said for decades these sarais have provided shelter on a no-profit basis. Mann said that earlier too, the NDA government had imposed GST on langar (public kitchen).

Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Badal tweeted, “The Central government decision has shocked the Sikh community. These serais are non-profit institutions. I request PM Modi not to tax devotion of pilgrims and revoke the unjustified decision.”