Cable network businessn unholy nexus which resulted in the loss to the tune of Rs. 500 crore to the state revenue-Sidhu
The Voice of Chandigarh News
Cable network business and the probe concerning this has brought to light an unholy nexus which resulted in the loss to the tune of Rs. 500 crore to the state revenue. Had this money been deposited in the state exchequer, it would have been enough for the all round development of a big city. Talking in brief, the cable network business in Punjab runs as follows:- from T.V. company to distribution agent, Distribution Agent to Multi System Operator, Multi System Operator to Cable Operator and in the end the Common Consumer. In this, Fastway is leading the pack.
This cable network business ran full throttle after the formation of the Akali government in 2007. It was expanded with the intent to carry out loot of Punjab and finish off small businesses through monopoly.
At present, a company named Fastway cable is running the cable network business throughout the state. But what is astonishing is that only around 1,25,000 connections are being stated whereas the reality points out to around 80 lakh TVs in Punjab.
Punjab has more than 8000 cable operators out of which 6500 are directly under fastway while the rest 1500 are indirectly under it. What is surprising is that the service tax department of the Union Government has accounts of 1500 local cable operators while the rest operate illicitly. According to the information, the service tax department has issued service tax notices worth Rs. 250 crore out of which only Rs. 23 crore have been deposited.
THEFT OF TAXES PERTAINING TO PUNJAB:-ENTERTAINMENT TAX THEFT-
The entertainment tax in Punjab was implemented from 13th November, 2011. Under it, every local cable operator and multi system operator had to deposit Rs. 15000 annually as entertainment tax. But to the utter surprise, out of 8000 local cable operator and 18 multi system operators only 150 paid taxes and that too at their sweet will. In the ancestral district of Badal family, Sri Muktsar Sahib, not even a single cable operator and multi system operator pays entertainment tax. This information has been obtained through RTI. In this way, approximately the Punjab exchequer has been robbed off a total tax of Rs. 184 crore including Rs. 85 crore tax from interest and fines.
SALES TAX THEFT-
The Fastway transmissions Ludhiana and its 12 other companies import Set Top Boxes from abroad and roll back the central VAT applicable on them. These set top boxes are given on rent to their consumers at Rs. 30-40 per month. Apart from this, Rs. 800-Rs. 2500 are collected as security of set top boxes. The principle behind security is that whenever the set top box is returned then whole security amount is refunded but this security amount is lessened every month and eventually evaporates in 3 years. Their refund policy is available on website. The selling of set top box carries sales tax but these people never pay sales tax. In previous 5 years, the state exchequer has suffered a loss of Rs. 100 crore and the amount increases to Rs. 220 crore adding interest and fines.
DIGGING ROADS & LAYING OF WIRES-
The fastway has laid the optical fibres throughout Punjab by digging roads in league with reliance. The digging of roads entails paying Rs. 500 per metre and Rs. 1000 for every manhole. The reliance was allowed to lay the optical fibres only on the condition of laying those related to fastway free of cost. The fibres were laid in municipal corporations, road department, canal department, national highways, forest department and land belonging to railways but neither was any permission sought regarding this nor any penny paid. A total of 1100 KM fibre network was laid in Punjab but the not a single penny was deposited in the Government accounts. This poses a direct threat to the national security and a case should be registered by the police for laying fibres without permission. The government has been deprived off its revenue worth Rs. 180 crore which includes 83 crore as interest.
EXPENDITURE PERTAINING TO WIRES ON ELECTRICITY POLES-
The Punjab Electricity Board in every city and village are covered with cable wires. For this, the government must be given a payment of Rs. 100 per pole. In Punjab, approximately 3,25,000 poles are being used but no payment is being made to the government. In this way, the electricity board has suffered a loss of Rs. 30 crore so far which is apart from 300 percent fine and interest. The total amount comes around to approximately Rs. 100 crore.
The total amount recoverable comes to around Rs. 684 crores.
The MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had asked a supplementary question from the Local Government Minister, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu regarding the extent of losses incurred by the government owing to laying of cable network in Punjab by the private companies. Replying to this, the Local Government Minister Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu had replied that he needs one day’s time and today the minister gave a reply to the question in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.