Friday, June 08, 2018

Why charge extra from Haj pilgrims, HC asks Hyderabad airport, Centre

Hyderabad: The Hyderabad high court on Thursday issued notices to the central government, the GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India and the Airports Authority of India asking them to explain why they are collecting more user charges from Haj pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia from Hyderabad International Airport.
According to S M Saifullah, a Hyderabad-based advocate who filed this plea, currently, the user development fee (UDF) being collected from international passengers at Hyderabad airport is Rs 1700, the highest in all the airports in the country.
But surpassing its own records, the airport is now collecting a whopping Rs 15,000 from Haj pilgrims, he said. Subjecting Haj pilgrims to this kind of discrimination is unfair and unconstitutional, he said.
The centre's Haj policy for 2018-2022 has imposed an 18 per cent GST upon Haj pilgrims and this, coupled with UDF, has turned out to be a huge burden for Haj pilgrims, Saifullah said. A spiritual sojourn cannot be termed as a commercial venture, the counsel said.
07/06/18 Sagar Kumar Mutha/Times of India