Doubt on GST rates halts pipeline work

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Panaji: The public works department (PWD) appears to be struggling with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime with government officials saying that one of PWD's sub-division is unable to calculate the GST to be levied for digging permissions. Officials say that confusion surrounding the GST rate to be levied was the reason behind the delay in according approval to Goa Natural Gas Pvt Ltd's city piped gas distribution network.
Though Goa Natural Gas has started work in Ponda and Panaji to lay the pipeline, the approvals have come "in bits and pieces" said an official. Permissions to lay the main polyethylene high strength carbon steel supply pipeline from Ponda to Panaji have not come through, sources added.

"PWD has not given permission to lay the telescopic pipeline, but it is expected soon," said an official on condition of anonymity. "PWD has not given permission for road cutting because they are unsure about what GST rate has to be fixed."

An official tasked with overseeing the implementation of the piped gas network in the state has now recommended that PWD maintain the uniformity in GST rate levied for earlier permissions.  

"It has been recommended that while giving the NOC, a rider can be attached that if any further dues have to be paid, Goa Natural Gas will pay them as and when required. We are confident that this will be acceptable to all," a government official said.  

In May 2017, the Union ministry of urban development had written to all state governments asking them to "create enabling environments" and to standardize the charges to be levied while granting digging permissions for the city gas distribution network.  

"To ensure smooth coverage in all smart cities, it is advised to extend all possible support to the company and issue appropriate directions for rationalizing charges and time limits for granting permissions by respective authorities for laying gas pipelines," joint secretary and mission director with the Union ministry of urban development Praveen Prakash said in a letter to the state government.

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