Revenue matters irk industry
Jalandhar: Steps by the ruling coalition government to increase revenue collection in the state have started meeting with resistance from various quarters, including industry. As the SAD-BJP alliance had been promising succour for them during assembly elections, these sections have now started raising their voice against state government attempts to find ways to fill its coffers. The industry is opposing particularly the hike in basic minimum price for registration of plots in industrial focal points, 4% entry tax on various raw material goods and revision in security deposit for power connections. It has alleged that the price now pegged was almost double than the actual market price. Raising the issue, general secretary of Jalandhar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Charanjit Singh Maingi, said that steps being taken by the state government was pushing the industry to the wall which was already at an disadvantageous position as compared to Himachal Pradesh where various relaxations had been given by the Union government. Decisions now being taken by the state government were in clear contrast to the announcements by the alliance prior to elections, he said. AK Kohli, senior vice president of Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters, said that 4% entry tax on iron and steel, including scrap dyes, chemicals, yarn and other material, would further increase the input cost for the industry in Punjab which was already facing high cost of production due to locational disadvantage with regard to raw material. “Iron and steel were already costing high here due to heavy transportation cost and the 4% entry tax would add insult to injury,” he observed. Maingi also said that, before elections, SAD president Parkash Singh Badal had promised that SAD-BJP government would give interest on securities charged by PSEB. But now, instead of giving interest, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission has decided to take security equivalent to consumption charges for 2 months from industry and 3 months for residential connections from January 1, 2008. This would put an extra burden on the industry, he said. Also, while Gadaipur was declared industrial zone, the industrialists have now been told that PSEB did not have capacity to give electric connections as all feeders of Focal Point, Gaushala and Tanda Road were running overloaded, Maingi added.