UP government clears Rs 9.5 cr custom duty for Gomti riverfront’s musical fountain
The authorities were facing an embarrassing situation as the water-show equipment had been lying with the railways since April 6 because the state government failed to pay the custom duty.lucknow Updated: Jun 16, 2017 15:47 IST
The musical fountain at Lucknow’s Gomti riverfront will get functional soon as the state government is expected to deposit Rs 9.5 crore custom duty to get the Rs 100 crore water-show equipment released from Indian Railways on Friday.
The equipment got stuck at Kanpur as riverfront project got caught into controversy after allegations of irregularities were levelled soon after the Yogi Adityanath government took over.
It ordered a judicial probe which indicted senior officers, including former chief secretary Alok Ranjan and the then principal secretary irrigation department Deepak Singhal.
The authorities were facing an embarrassing situation as the equipment had been lying with the railways since April 6 because the state government failed to pay the custom duty.
A delay in payment is putting additional cost to the state exchequer as demurrage charge is swelling with each passing day.
“Initially a demurrage charge of Rs 400 per tonne was being levied. We assume total demurrage charge will be about Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 per day now,” said a senior officer.
“We have released Rs 10 crore to irrigation department to pay the custom duty and directives have been issued to get the equipment released. A government order (GO) in this regard has been issued,” said principal secretary irrigation Suresh Chandra.
“We tried to transfer the custom duty online but banks do not transfer more than Rs 2 crore on a day. So we will try to get the amount deposited through bank draft on Friday,” said an irrigation department official on condition of anonymity.
The GO dated June 7, 2017 specifies that the amount would be used in getting the musical fountain water show equipment released. “Engineer in chief of irrigation department will be held responsible for any irregularity or use of funds for any other purpose,” reads the GO.
“The state government had released Rs 1503 crore for the Gomti riverfront project. Only 60% work of the project has been completed though 95% of the project funds have been used. The delay in payment of custom duty speaks on lack of planning,” said a senior officer.