Bengal lottery industry flays five-fold tax hike

November 28th, 2011 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Nov 28 (IANS) With the West Bengal government announcing a five-fold increase on the draw charge levied on lotteries, distributors and stockists Monday closed down operations claiming their business had become unviabble.

“The draw charge levied by the government has been increased from Rs.1,00,000 to Rs.5,00,000 per draw. With an average of 31 draws daily, it is not at all feasible for us to continue the business. We will have to pay from our pocket if we continue,” Rahul Tangri, a lottery distributor said here.

The Mamata Banerjee government July 18 had imposed for the first time a draw charge of Rs.1 lakh on every lottery draw. On Nov 22, a five-fold hike was announced with effect from Monday.

“In the last four months, the government earned revenue of Rs.50 crore from the industry. But with this hike, we have been forced to close down endangering the livelihood of around 10 lakh people who are directly or indirectly involved with the industry,” president of the West Bengal Stockist Lottery Association S.K. Bose said.

“Since the announcement of the hike was made, we have sent several representations to the government officials to reconsider their decision but we are yet to get a reply. We are contemplating to meet Banerjee on the issue,” Bhavin Doshi, another distributor said.

Some of the distributors said the move will lead to rise in illegal lottery selling and betting.

The industry in the state is estimated at Rs.240 crore monthly while the illegal industry commands a monthly turnover of Rs.150 crore.

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