Agra seeks cut in aviation fuel VAT

Agra, Aug 21 (IANS) As Air India readies to start flights between Agra and Mumbai from Sep 9, local tourism industry leaders here have demanded that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav make good his promise to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on aviation fuel.

The industry leaders have demanded a reduction of VAT from 22 percent to four percent on aviation fuel, and have reminded the chief minister of a promise he made earlier this year. They assert that such a reduction would also make it more attractive for airlines to fly to Agra.

K.C. Jain, president of the Agra Development Foundation, in a memorandum addressed to the chief minister, said four other states had already effected such reduction in VAT on aviation fuel. "The latest is Madhya Pradesh," Jain told IANS.

Jain said: "Two days ago, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan slashed Value Added Tax on aviation turbine fuel from 23 percent to five percent, becoming the fourth state in the country to do so. Industrialists in Indore feel this would make the city attractive as a parking hub for airlines. While Agra, the country's number one tourist spot, has a lone flight to Delhi, Raja Bhoj airport of Bhopal has 13 flights daily and Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar airport of Indore has 22 flights connecting Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Nagpur."

Senior tourism industry leader Rajiv Tiwari said there was, however, good news too: "The state government Tuesday announced a decision to provide 55 acres of land to the Airports Authority of India to build a terminal at the existing Kheria airport. A plan for an international greenfield airport at Tundla, 22 km away, is already in the pipeline."

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