Monday, November 05, 2007

Idol fans fume at coupons

Gangtok, Nov. 4: The decision of Sony Entertainment Television to sell 150-rupee entry coupons for the Prashant Tamang show at Palzor Stadium tomorrow has not gone down well with people here.
Sony is releasing 30,000 CDs of Prashant’s first album, Dhanyabad, each priced at Rs 150, on November 18. Everyone with a coupon here will get a CD as well as the chance to see the Indian Idol perform live.
A government official alleged that the coupons are a ploy to force Prashant fans to buy the CD while Sony gets away without paying any entertainment tax, which it would have had to if it sold tickets instead of coupons. “Sony is making use of a loophole in the tax law,” he said.
Sony stands to make Rs 45 lakh if all the coupons are sold, while the Sikkim government will lose out on 11.25 lakh as entertainment tax (25 per cent of the cover price of tickets), the official added.
Normal procedure entails that an application for waiver of entertainment tax be made to the amusement taxes cell of the urban development department.
Another government official said Sony has made no such application.
Moreover, the organisers of such shows are supposed to hand over all the tickets to the cell to be stamped with the urban development department’s seal before they are sold.
However, the coupons are already up for sale in various counters all over the capital minus the seal.
People here are also unhappy about the high price of the coupons.
“We are told that Prashant is coming here to thank us for our support during the Indian Idol contest. Is Sony making us shell out Rs 150 to listen to our idol say ‘thank you’,” asked Dhiren Sherpa, a school student and a die hard Prashant fan.
The local organisers of the event, the Central Reception Committee, today clarified that they are not involved with the coupons, which are being handled by Sony through outlets manned by its own people.