Two Days after Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of not keeping his word on waiving the state’s share of GST on langar, the Punjab government on Tuesday transferred Rs 1,96,57,190 to the bank account of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) against pending claims.
“With this, not a single penny of the claims raised by the SGPC so far against this budgetary head was pending,” said Special Chief Secretary, Revenue, KB S Sidhu, in a statement. He said that no claim had so far been received from the other two religious shrines Sri Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar, and Sri Valmik Sthal, Ram Tirath, Amritsar for which the state government had in May this year allocated Rs 4 crore to the deputy commissioner, Amritsar. Of the total allocated amount against pending GST bills, Rs 3.5 crore was set aside for Darbar Sahib, Rs 35,000 for Durgiana Mandir and the remaining for Valmiki Sthal, Ram Tirath.
The chief minister has already directed the state finance and revenue departments to clear any further pending claims for the three shrines, as soon as they are raised, against GST incurred, added Sidhu. Amarinder had also made it clear that the state government was committed to bearing the GST for these three shrines, in line with its notification of 100 percent refund against this head for Punjab’s share.
The CM was quoted in the statement saying pending dues against the GST refund had been initiated immediately after the requisite budgetary approvals were taken from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the Budget session and the finance department had relaxed its guidelines of quarterly releases.
Moreover, following the creation of a new budget head on this count, the process to generate the new DDO (drawing and disbursing officer) code was taken up with the accountant general, Punjab, by the finance department, he added. As soon as the process was completed, the pending GST refund of Rs 1,96,57,190 was transferred to the SGPC against their pending claims.
The state government also decided to allocate the entire pending amount to the DC, Amritsar, to ensure its seamless disbursement. Harsimrat had accused the state government of “reneging” on its commitment after which Amarinder Singh had dubbed the Union minister a “compulsive liar”.