Pokhara hostel business booms, tax payment zilch?

POKHARA: Government authorities have been maintaining silence even though various hostels for students preparing for SLC are being operated illegally in Pokhara and its adjoining areas.

Out of the five dozen hostels, only a dozen of them are under the purview of tax. Though the existing law has made a clear provision to inform the District Education Office concerned after registering a hostel in the Company Registration’s Office for its operation, only a dozen are registered with the Internal Revenue Office. “The rest have been evading tax,” said Biswo Raj Poudel, tax officer at the Internal Revenue Office, Pokhara.

Commenting on the

illegal operation of the hostels, District Education Officer Baikuntha Adhikari vowed to punish the hostels being operated without

registration.

Claiming that running the hostels would be systematic and service-oriented, Yam Thakuri, the operator of Blue Sky Hostel said, “The government has to impose a minimum tax in the education sector. There are no set standards in the hostel business; the operators determine and charge fees on their own volition.” He, however, criticised the DEO for lack of monitoring and supervision of the hostels.

Meanwhile, Ghana Shyam Aryal, section officer at the Kaski DEO, said that the DEO had no information about the illegal operation of the hostels in the district. “The Education Office has no data on the hostels” he added.

Notably, hostels targeting SLC students are mushrooming in Pokhara. But the Education Office and the Internal Revenue Office have shown no concern

at all to list them and make them systematic. Some founders of the hostels claim that hostel operations have helped the SLC

students a great deal as

they face acute shortage

of rooms during the

examinations.

The hostels charge Rs 6,000 to 8,000 from each student monthly. The Internal Revenue Office, however, has failed to bring the hostels that have amassed millions in a short span of time under the tax net.

However, the hostel operators refute the allegations saying that they cannot collect colossal benefit as hostel business is seasonal. Though the existing law bars from keeping more than six students in a room, many hostels have housed up to 10 students in a room.