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10% luxury tax on private hospitals has docs fuming

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HYDERABAD: The commercial taxes department (CTD) has stirred up a hornet’s nest by slapping ‘luxury tax’ notices on 150-odd private hospitals in Nizamabad and Warangal in the last two weeks.

The notices were sent as part of implementation of a new policy under which 10% luxury tax is to be collected from private hospitals providing special rooms with TV and air-conditioning facilities with retrospective effect from June 2, 2014.

“We will take legal recourse to stop the department from collecting this so-called luxury tax as it is not just impractical but also illegal. This new tax will financially bleed thousands of patients as THANA members will have no choice but to pass the burden on to patients,” said Dr D Narayan Rao, president, Telangana Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (THANA).

While not ruling out a possibility of a strike by nearly 2,500 THANA members, including 1,200 hospitals in the city, Rao told TOI that the move would affect them as well as the patients who would have to bear the rising medical expenditure. In fact, it is estimated that the 1,200 hospitals in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts would have to annually collect Rs 36.5 crore more from their patients if forced to pay up the new luxury tax.

“Though CTD Hyderabad has not yet issued notices to us, the moment they start coming after us for collection of luxury tax, many of our members would have to shut down. This is because 80% of the 1,200 private hospitals in Hyderabad have less than 25 beds and they would be hard hit,” explained Dr B Narender Reddy, city president elect of THANA, Hyderabad.

Barring 15 top corporate hospitals, there are about 10,000 beds available in 1,170 odd nursing homes and hospitals in the city. These special rooms are given at an average of Rs 1,000 per day of hospitalisation.

Saying that equating treatment with luxury is wrong, Dr Narender Reddy rued that if the state is adamant on collecting luxury tax, hospital managements would have to charge at least Rs 100 more from each patient admitted in the special rooms.

Interestingly, it is the impending Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) poll that is said to have deterred the commercial taxes department, Hyderabad, from sending out luxury tax notices to 1,200 private hospitals in the city.

Source: TOI-Hyd


Telangana govt to hand over 505 acres for Ramoji 'Om City'

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HYDERABAD: Om City, the dream project of media baron Ramoji Rao, has received a fillip with the Telangana government deciding to allot 505 acres for the project. The Ranga Reddy district administration has sent proposals for allotting the land spread over Abdullapur, Koheda and Surmaiguda villages in Hayatnagar mandal.

Official sources in Ranga Reddy district confirmed that proposals have been sent to the revenue department for final approval. “The government will fix value for the land being allotted when approving the proposal,” a senior official of the Ranga Reddy district administration told TOI.

The proposed Om City is to come up in about 2,000 acres near Ramoji Film City in Hayatnagar mandal. The chairman of Eenadu group had earlier requested that the government allot the land for the project, but revenue department officials had informed the government that a single parcel of government land of such a large size was not available in Hayatnagar mandal.

However, Ranga Reddy district officials said that they were in the process of identifying another 500 acres that can be allotted to the project. They added that Ramoji Rao had requested that the government also acquire the rest of the land for the project through negotiations with private pattadars.

The Eenadu group chairman reportedly sought land from the state government as his Ramoji Film City had previously faced criticism that part of its 2,000 acres comprised assigned land bought from farmers. If the government manages to allot the land for the project, it will become the only private project to receive a such huge tract of land around Hyderabad in the recent past.

Om City has been planned as a spiritual city that will include replicas of 108 famous temples of the country. In addition, the city will also have a theme park, film theatres that screen only spiritual movies, hotels, marriage and functions halls.

Ramoji Rao, who has been working on the project for the past couple of years, met Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao this April and presented a book containing the project details. The chief minister assured all help for Om City.

Ramoji Rao had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and presented the album on the proposed city, explaining the salient features of the proposed project to be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore. Once completed, it is expected to attract about Rs 2 lakh visitors every day.

The idea behind the project, according to the proposal, is to provide a single location to people where they will have the opportunity to see holy places and great temples without going around the country.

A city for spiritual needs

* Om City will come up in about 2,000 acres near Ramoji Film City in Hayatnagar mandal

* It will have replicas of 108 famous temples of the country

* The city will also have a theme park, film theatres that screen only spiritual movies, hotels, marriage and functions halls

* The proposed project expected to cost nearly Rs 3,000 crore

* As of now, the RR district administration has sent proposals to allot land spread over Abdullapur, Koheda and Surmaiguda villages
Source: TOI-Hyd


Farmers set to lose out on riverfront plots

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GUNTUR: With CRDA offices remaining closed on account of Christmas, farmers have no option but to wait for the detailed master plan of Amaravati. They would not have been so anxious were it not for municipal administration minister P Narayana’s statement about the issuance of notification. He announced late on Thursday that chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had directed the officials not to further delay the release of notification and it would be issued on Friday itself.

According to sources, the planners struggled to locate the plots of farmers close to their villages. Sources said that many of them might not be getting plots as per the state government’s promise. Since the entire riverfront has been reserved for exclusive development of the capital city, developed plots of the farmers have been shifted to its rear end. This means that farmers would be losing the premium area advantage to the private companies from Singapore who might well grab the river front in return for developing Amaravati.

Hoping to find out the fate of their plots and other developmental projects that are going to come up near their plots, farmers rushed to the CRDA offices on Friday. About 20,000 farmers gave up nearly 30,000 acres for the capital under the LPS announced by the state government almost six months ago. They were supposed to get back the land pooling certificates (LPCs) within 30 days after the closure of the LPS and levelled plots within 180 days.

The CRDA gave an assurance about complete development of the area including laying of roads, lighting, water, drainage and other infrastructure in the next three years. Although farmers are not really bothered about physical development of the area on immediate basis, suspense over the actual layout has been vexing.

Knowing the location of plots is crucial for the farmers in order to raise their objection about the master plan. Those who parted with their holdings have already hit out at CRDA officials for not sharing any information about the capital city design and location of key installations in Amaravati. Staunch TDP supporters too are unhappy with the officials for keeping the farmers who sacrificed their lands in the dark.

Sources said that the farmers are particularly worried about the state government placing emphasis on the seed capital. asWe are not against the development of the seed capital as the work has to begin somewhere in the 29 villages. But, too much of focus on an area that barely spreads over 4-5 villages on the riverbank will lead to neglect of other places,a rued a farmer M Narasimha Rao. He wanted to know how much time the authorities might require to show their plot location.

Meanwhile, CRDA sources said that they are gearing up for the next phase in the capital city work as notification on draft master plan will be released either on Saturday or Monday. The farmers would be given 30 days of time to file the objections.

Interestingly, the Singapore-based consultant Surbana International has retained almost all of Amaravatias features which were part of the first draft master plan submitted to the state government in July. The riverfront has been earmarked for immediate development.
Source: TOI-Hyd

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