Amusement parks ask TN for local body tax cut

Chennai: Amusement park business in the State is on the verge of dying, as tax over GST eats into their operational costs, said a statement jointly released by industry conglomerates VGP Group MD VGP Ravidas, Kishkintha JMD JosePunnoose and director, Black Thunder, Vincent Adaikalaraj.

The statement read that, “the Central government imposed GST of 28 per cent when it was introduced in July 2017. This was a major setback to the Industry. With representation from the Industry¬ís apex body-IAAPI (Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industry) members to the Finance Ministry it was later brought down to 18 per cent.”

But to the other utter dismay of the Industry, the Tamilnadu government imposed a local body tax of 10 per cent in July 2017 along with GST. This local body tax has been imposed only by the Tamilnadu Government and not by any other State, it said.

Unlike other entertainment industry avenues Amusement Parks are highly labour intensive, maintenance oriented and needs constant up gradation every year with imported rides, it said. The industry is appealing to the government once again expecting favourable reply, it added.

At least four parks in the State closed down during the past decade and at least two are on the verge of closure at the moment. New entrants like Wonderla who had planned to establish a facility in the outskirts of Chennai, are caught in two minds, the statement said.

It added that new entrants have the option of moving their project to Sri City, Andhra, 50 kilometres from North Chennai. Besides, the investor friendly Andhra Government is prepared to offer them additional subsidies and incentives. This will lead to considerable loss in revenue to the State of Tamilnadu, it said.

As of now, there are about 130 amusement parks in the country. Essel world, Nicco Park, Appughar, VGP, Kishkintha, MGM, Black Thunder, Wonderla are some of the major parks which have been in operation across the country for decades.