Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday called Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Union minister Harsimrat Badal a “compulsive liar” over a GST refund issue related to Golden Temple. Reacting strongly to Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s recent allegations that the state government had reneged from its commitment of paying its share of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Chief Minister trashed the same as yet another bunch of lies reflecting the Union Minister’s perverse mentality, which seemed to take pleasure from befooling and misleading the people.
“Bereft of any meaningful political issue to fight the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the state, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and the rest of the Akali Dal leadership, were once again resorting to outright fabrications in a desperate bid to deceive the people, who had repeatedly rejected them since the 2017 Assembly elections in the state,” Captain Amarinder Singh said. Describing Harsimrat Badal’s behaviour as disgraceful and a sign of her “complete disregard” for the Sikh ideology and ethos, Amarinder Singh said that the union minister’s statement did not have an iota of truth.
The fact, he pointed out, was that the state government had not only notified 100 percent GST refund for Punjab’s share in respect of Shri Darbar Sahib, Sri Durgiana Mandir, Sri Valmik Sthal and Ram Tirath in Amritsar but had also allocated a whopping Rs 4 crore to the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner in May this year for the same. The chief minister reiterated his government’s commitment to refunding the state’s share of the GST not just for the current year but with effect from 1.8.2017 for all the three holy shrines.
Captain Amarinder further disclosed that the amount of Rs 4 crore was allotted to the DC by the revenue department after 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. “To ensure a seamless and smooth transfer of the funds, the entire estimated budget was placed at the disposal of the Amritsar deputy commissioner so that he did not need to keep pursuing with the state headquarters at every stage,” the Chief Minister said, adding that Harsimrat Badal deliberately chose to keep these crucial facts from the people to further the Akali political and electoral agenda.
Further, Amarinder Singh said that the Financial Commissioner, Revenue (FCR), had been directed to coordinate with the state Excise and Taxation Department, the Finance Department, Punjab Accountant General, the SGPC authorities, as well as the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner, to ensure that the outstanding payments are cleared as expeditiously as possible.
The FCR had also been instructed to ensure a timely and seamless refund of the GST to all the three sacred institutions in future, Captain Amarinder Singh said, asking Harsimrat Badal to stop shaming herself with her lies if she had any self-respect and respect for her religion. “With these falsehoods, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was evidently trying to claw her party’s way back into the Punjab electoral scene, from which the Akalis had virtually disappeared in the past three years or so,” Amarinder Singh said.