Updated: November 11, 2021 5:05:25 am
ALLEGING A ‘scam’ worth ‘Rs 6,600 crore’ in the state’s transport department for 14 and half years (a decade of SAD rule and four and a half years of Congress government led by former CM Capt Amarinder Singh), Punjab Transport Minister Amrinder Singh Raja Warring on Wednesday said, “The scam will be thoroughly investigated by forming a Special Investigation Team and every person found guilty, be it a leader or an official, will not be spared at any cost.”
Addressing a press conference, he took a jibe at Amarinder Singh and SAD president Sukhbir Badal, alleging that the two were hand in glove (“Chacha bhateeje naal milya hoya si”).
Warring, who took over as the transport minister on September 26 after Charanjit Singh Channi replaced Amarinder Singh as CM, said that the total income of PRTC and Punjab Roadways had increased by 42.57 per cent. He said that as against Rs 73.16 crore in September, the income of the two institutions increased to Rs 104.31 crore in October. He added that the daily income from both institutions till date has reached over Rs 1 crore, following a crackdown on “tax evaders, illegal activities and without permit bus operators”.
Comparing the increased income of the department with the past, the transport minister said, “Ten years rule of SAD-BJP and four and half year rule of Captain Amarinder Singh’s compromised government allowed sheer loot of the state exchequer and the amount of these 5,220 days [of fourteen and a half years] would have translated into around Rs 5,200 crore.”
He further said: “The order passed in 2012 by Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Surya Kant against illegal extension in multiple permits was not implemented properly…now, we have implemented this decision in toto and cancelled the 680 multiple permits of illegal extension of more than 1 lakh km. With this the state government has started getting profit to the tune of Rs 42 lakh daily during the month of October.” He stressed that if the illegal extension of permits had been revoked during the period of 2012 to 2021, the amount of Rs 1,380 crore for 3,285 days of nine years (Rs 42 lakh per day) would have gone to the state exchequer, which could have been spent on public welfare.”
“If Rs 6,600 crore (Rs 5,220 crore + Rs 1,380 crore) had gone to the state exchequer, 24,000 new buses could have been procured and 50,000 drivers-conductors and other staff could have been recruited for these buses and two new buses could have been run from each village of the state,” he added.
After he took over, Warring said, “As many as 304 buses had been confiscated for evading taxes, without permits and other violations and 64 buses have been challaned so far”. He said that the transport department has been able to collect Rs 7 crore as tax.
The minister conducted surprise checks in Mohali and Rajpura on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and ordered to impound a number of buses, including an Indo-Canadian Transport Company bus operating to Delhi International Airport from the state, for flouting norms. The buses impounded on Tuesday night and Wednesday had tourist permit, but flouted the norms by running as stage carriage permit buses by allowing passengers to board from various transit points in between an end to end route.
‘Manpreet Badal’s family owned bus service owes Rs 13 lakh as tax’
Responding to a question, Warring said state Finance Minister Manpreet Badal’s family owned bus service Raghuraj Transport had a “due tax of Rs 13 lakh”, adding that Manpreet had told the media that he would deposit the same.
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