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Tax tussle pits Subhas stadium versus pool

Calcutta, Dec. 1: Less that 24 hours after the Salt Lake Municipality decided to slap property tax on Yuva Bharati Krirangan to target Subhas Chakraborty, the sports minister’s supporters have hit back at the civic authorities.

The pro-Subhas lobby in the CPM has raised questions on why similar taxes should not be imposed on the swimming pool in Salt Lake’s BF Block. It is under the urban development department. They feel the “discrimination is part of a plan to cause trouble to Chakraborty”.

“If Yuva Bharati Krirangan has to pay tax to the municipality being a sports complex, then the Bidhannagar Swimming Association must also be brought under the tax net,” a local CPM leader said. “May be because municipality chairman Dilip Gupta is the president of BSA, the civic authorities are not too keen on earning revenue by imposing tax there,” he added.

The issue was raised at the municipality board meeting yesterday by Trinamul Congress councillor Sabyasachi Dutta, who claimed that since other buildings under the urban development department, like Bikash Bhavan and Sech Bhavan, were paying taxes, the swimming pool should also be asked to pay up.

Chairman Gupta claimed it will not be proper to impose tax on the swimming pool. “Many children learn swimming there, and so it is not right to ask the club to pay taxes,” he said.

But he defended the decision to tax the stadium. “We have imposed similar taxes on the Sports Authority of India complex. We are providing drainage and sewerage services and also allowing car parking facilities,” he argued.

The board decision has left Subhas fuming. “Ask them (the municipal authorities) whether they have imposed taxes on their building,” he told The Telegraph.

The minister said he will seek legal advice. “Sports is such a field that taxes should not be imposed,” he added.

Sources close to the sports minister said taxes are not being collected from a number of Central government employees’ residential complexes.

Party insiders said even though the civic body has decided to tax Yuva Bharati Krirangan, “it would be difficult to implement it”.

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