Central Excise HQ Proposal in Rourkela Gathering Dust - The New Indian Express

Central Excise HQ Proposal in Rourkela Gathering Dust

Published: 17th January 2014 12:00 PM

Last Updated: 17th January 2014 12:00 PM

After hanging fire for 16 years, the proposal to set up the Bhubaneswar-II Commissionerate headquarters of the Central Excise, Customs & Service Tax Department at Rourkela has not seen much progress in recent time except finalisation of land for the building.

With the required seven acres land of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) at Sector-9 not physically transferred for the office, uncertainty still looms large.

According to an official communication by former Sundargarh Collector Shalini Pandit, the State Government in April 2011 approved a proposal of the sub-lease committee of the RSP to allot seven acres to the Central agency under the Union Finance Ministry.

Sources said 32 months have been wasted without any progress as the RSP would now seek approval of SAIL for handing over the land. After that, land valuation would be done by RSP and based on its report, the department would seek financial clearance from the Ministry.

Given the past experience, Central Excise sources said it may take a few more years and claimed that the delay was ‘deliberate’. The Ministry had carved out the Bhubaneswar-II Commissionerate from Bhubanswar Zone on July 16, 1997 and ordered to locate the headquarters at Rourkela. The Ministry was keen on the bifurcation to bring the department closer to assesses and augment its revenue prospects.

In 2012-13 financial year, the department had collected Central Excise and Service Tax to the tune of `2028 crores from the Rourkela-I and II divisions in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts. Once the RSP reaches the production capacity of 4.5 million tonnes, the revenue prospect is likely to rise by another `700 crores.

There is no denying the fact that top Central Excise officials sat over the files for at least 13 years on various pleas before the then Bhubaneswar-based chief commissioner KL Bablani in 2010 initiated fresh attempts to expedite the issue. Contacted, Bhubaneswar-based chief commissioner Sashi Minz refused to comment.

neglect

■ The State Government in April 2011 approved a proposal of RSP to allot seven acres to the Central agency

■ 32 months have been wasted without any progress as the RSP would now seek approval of SAIL for handing over the land

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