| 23 Jul 2024
Percept claims it is yet to recover Rs 6 crore from Goa govt

MUMBAI: Percept Limited, the organiser of the Sunburn festival, is yet to recover Rs 6 crore from the Goa government. Percept Live, which was established in 2012, is the subsidiary of Percept Limited and the controller of Sunburn, one of the biggest dance music festivals in India.

“We have large amounts to recover from the State of Goa and are anxiously awaiting meetings and appeal hearings to find resolutions to the irrational Police Bandobast charges and Entertainment Tax levied on the Complimentary tickets,” said a Percept spokesperson.

Earlier Global CEO of Sunburn Karan Singh said : “Yes, we are moving out of Goa as there are issues with the Goa Tourism Department.”

Percept Live Chief Executive Officer Manuj Agarwal told on Wednesday, “Percept has been persistent in its efforts to recover dues totalling to over Rs six crores from the Government of Goa since five years. This includes recoverable deposits of Rs 1.25 crore towards Sunburn, Rs 3.03 crore for Lusifonia Games, Rs 50 lakhs for Windsong Music Festival and Rs 51 lakhs Entertainment Tax refund for the year 2014 and 2015." 

Percept says it has repeatedly written to the Government of Goa requesting for a resolution on a number of pending matters over the past 4 years which includes:

  • Request for a reversal of the revised Police Bandobast charges levied for the Sunburn events held in 2013, 2014 & 2015 and a refund of excess charges paid under protest for the respective years. 
  • Application to grant Sunburn the exemption of the Tax on Complimentary tickets (up to 5% of the capacity). 
  • Reimbursement of SLPC fees of Rs.50 lakhs of Windsong Music Festival (December 2012). It was the first event that was executed after the formation of SLPC under Tourism Ministry and Percept paid up a deposit fee of Rs. 50 lakhs for obtaining the requisite permissions. Despite being assured, Percept finally got the permissions and licenses for Windsong only on the day of the festival i.e. 24 December 2012, around 6.00 pm. Percept urged the Government for the refund of Rs. 50 lakhs which are yet awaited.
  • Compensation of the balance amount of Rs. 3.03 crores due to Percept for the Lusofonia Games (2014). During Lusofonia Games Goa 2014, the ‘Organizing Committee’ penalised Percept for Rs. 21 lakhs. Percept followed up on the cause of the penalty and the enquiry panel later released Percept of any penalty with a directive that the entire balance amount of Rs. 3.03 crores is to be paid to Percept. In spite of rigorous follow ups over two and a half years, this amount is yet to be paid to Percept by the Goa Government.
  •  Reconsideration of a Single Window process ensuring SLPC permission and fees paid to be sufficient and no further permission or fees to be paid to any other department.

In 2012 The Government of Goa considered the positive impact and popularity of Sunburn along with the intent to make possible and encourage such events in Goa. Consequently, Goa Government constituted a ‘single window clearance’ procedure through the formation of a ‘State Level Permission Committee’ (SLPC) that would consider various organisers’ plans/presentation and grant permissions.  

The committee includes significant associates from the Tourism, Traffic Police, Health and Safety Department and Head Pollution Control. However, the SLPC became counter-productive as it resulted in inordinate delays in obtaining permissions, duplication of permissions and fees. In spite of putting in applications a year in advance for Sunburn, in December 2015 the Sunburn festival started five hours late on at 1900 hours instead of 1400 hours as scheduled. Percept says it had repeatedly written to the Government requesting for the Single Window Process to be revised to initiate timely and speedy grant of permissions from a single window and a reversal of fees. 

Percept claims to have paid,  every single penny of the Entertainment Tax levied by the department on paid tickets in the last 9 years. In fact, there is a refund due of approx. Rs.50 lacs for the excess taxes paid for Sunburn 2014 and Sunburn 2015, claims the company. The current claim by the department is on the Complimentary Invites issued by Percept to the VVIPs, Government Officials, Local authorities and their guests are neither complimentary at par with the tickets sold nor have any value attached to it. The Assessment Officer raised a dispute with respect to the complimentary tickets/vouchers issued by Percept. Percept has requested for reversal and the appeal is pending before the Administrative Tribunal, Panaji Goa. 

Earlier last year it was agreed that a review would be held by the SLPC where Percept’s objections would be heard to review the matter fairly. However, no review was conducted all through 2015 and 2016 even as Percept awaited the opportunity to present their case and mutually resolve the dispute, says the company. While Percept was waiting for the review to be conducted, they received further bills from the Traffic Police department for the years 2011 and 2012 as supplementary charges due to alleged audit issue demanding additional sums of payment (this is over and above amounts paid by Percept respectively towards Traffic police Bandobast charges in these years). For Sunburn Festival 2015, higher number of manpower was deployed without Percept’s consent and the bandobast charges from Calangute to Vagator was levied on the company Percept paid the charges under protest, and submitted their objections clearly establishing that these increments in numbers and rates were completely informal and without rationale, prior intimation or approval or requirement, therein appealing that these incremental charges are reversed and their monies refunded. 

Even as the Tourism Department of Goa has asked Percept to remit an amount of Rs. 84 lakh for Police Bandobast and Traffic Management and Rs. 21 lakh for Service Tax for the Sunburn Festivals held in Goa state from the period 2011 to 2014.

Also, we contacted Sunburn Global CEO Karan Singh for the same who added, “That's the breakup and I can't comment further.”

Also read: Sunburn 10 announces new venue and phase 1 lineup