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Tax on Durga Puja? Mamata Banerjee tells committees to ignore IT department

Many Durga puja committees in Kolkata have been told by the IT department to file TDS. "Are Tirupati Balaji, Golden Temple, Jagannath Temple, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Ajmer Sharif going to be taxed too?" asked the West Bengal CM.

Tax on Durga Puja? Mamata Banerjee tells committees to ignore IT department
File photo

Kolkata: Days after the Income Tax Department served notices to Durga puja committees asking them to file TDS, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked the committees to remain united and not appear before the Income Tax Department.

"Now, they have not spared the Durga pujas too. They are scaring the puja committees through notices from the Income Tax. Durga Puja committees are non-profit organisations. They do not make any profits by celebrating the pujas. Hence, this does not fall in the ambit of Income Tax. Citizens here contribute to the pujas and the central government does not help them with a single penny," said Banerjee.

She further added, "I'm asking all puja committees to remain united and not appear before the Income Tax department. I'm warning everyone, if you try touching the puja committees we will not spare you. There are so many trusts, temples and religious establishments like Tirupati Balaji, Golden Temple, Jagannath Temple, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Ajmer Sharif. I want to ask them, are you going to charge Income Tax from them too?"

Last week, the Kolkata branch of Income Tax Department had served notices to atleast 40 big budget and prominent Durga pujas of Kolkata to file their TDS and also disclose the source of donation collection.

Banerjee on Friday also launched a blistering attack on the central government, blaming them for not getting the black money back into the country and even failing to get fugitives back.

"Goondas are roaming around the country, they have failed to bring them back. They had promised to bring back black money from abroad ahead of elections, they have failed in doing that as well. They are silent on issues of farmer suicide and lynching. Now, they are eyeing festivals like Durga puja. We will not allow them to loot people who want to respect Goddess Durga and celebrate their festival," she said. 

Banerjee was speaking at the inauguration of the 23rd Jatra Utsav, organised by the state government.The festival was inaugurated from Kachari Maidan in Barasat.