Nagpur News: The friendship day is here again and this Sunday most of the happening and not so happening venues (read restaurants and hotels) have spruced up to attract the young lot of Nagpur for the big bonanza and grand gala bashes with loads of entertainment. However large number of events around the city may eat out the district administration’s share in the form of entertainment tax, thanks to the miniscule staff operating in the concerned department. Barring a few, most of the venues are set to throw bashes of commercial nature at their disposal without seeking permission from the Entertainment tax department.
At a time when Nagpur’s entertainment scenario is growing exponentially with every special day being celebrated with a bang, the city’s Entertainment Tax Department is severely crying for strength. Of the 11 posts in the department only 4 are being served at present while rest of the posts has been lying vacant for past couple of years. The existing staff of four people even struggle to cope up with routine chores forget about scrutinizing the fresh applications pouring in for special events.
This has led many of the commercial events to secretly have their way, giving a smart skip to the entertainment tax. It is evident from the fact that so far only 8 applications seeking permission for friendship day events have been received by the department whereas large numbers of commercial establishments have deliberately ignored the process. A rough estimate puts the number of events this Friendship Day at somewhere around 50. This means a great deal of loss in the form of entertainment tax evasion.
B.N. Bambole, Entertainment Tax officer told Nagpur Today that of the eight applications received so far, one has not submitted the required documents. “We would be cancelling the permission for that,” he quipped. Among the venues for which the applications have been received include Hotel Radisson Blu, Tuli International, Hotel Centre Point, Hotel Hardeo, Mangi’s Forever, Bleez Dining, Element Lounge and Club Estate. Documents for Element Lounge where the Friendship Day event is being organized by Manish Agrawal were pending.
Bambole informed that a prior permission is required to be sought from the entertainment tax office functioning under collectorate, be it ticket show or free entry. The organizers have to seek the stamp of the department on their tickets. The numbers of tickets are counted and entertainment tax of 20% is recovered on the price printed on each ticket. For the free entry shows, no tax is levied. A sizeable amount is required to be deposited in advance at the office and the final accounting is done once the event gets over. The entertainment tax is only collected for the amusement part where food and beverages have been kept out of its purview.
Bambole however admitted that the entertainment tax department routinely missed out on its revenue target owing to the severe staff crunch.
Insiders informed that last year too, the department remained quite far from reaching its target. Moreover the government has increased the target for this year, which has added to the distress of the officials.
Next up is the show of rapper Honey Singh scheduled for August 10 at Mankapur Indoor Stadium for which full 20 percent will be charged. However, with the constant protest against the show by the political outfit Shiv Sena, the sale has been badly hampered. The high ticket prices have also played spoilsport, sucking up the entertainment revenue further.