BOT projects a drain on state coffers
THE GROWING penchant for Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) schemes could be depriving the State exchequer of crores of rupees. Or so at least believes the State Accountant General’s office.
Take the Rs 833.70 lakh BOT contract for repairing and maintaining the 58-km Indore-Ujjain state highway. The top accounting official holds that that the Public Works Department (PWD) has caused a loss of Rs 69.20 lakh to the government by failing to levy stamp duty and registration fees on the BOT operator.
Departmental officials, however, say the project has been exempted from stamp duty payment through an order issued by the PWD. A claim dismissed by the Attorney General’s office as well as the Registration Department officials. Both insist that stamp duty exemptions can be granted only if the Commercial Tax Department issues a gazette notification to this effect.