I'd mentioned in an earlier post that we'd referred the matter of Salt Lake Lottery to the Election Commission. I received their decision yesterday. The Commission has directed that the matter may be deferred till completion of the elections in the state.
So we are not proceeding in the matter now.
Here is a link that leads to a story in today's Bartamaan: http://bartamanpatrika.com/content/kolkata.htm
I addressed a CII group recently. I referred to the Amul example and said that industries should compute the full economic value of land - and not merely its present market value - by sharing with landowners future profits derived from the land. Bengal Post carried a story.
I held a departmental meeting today. I have asked two Accounts Officers to prepare me a note on the tax liability of Development Authorities. I mentioned that as a govt department, we must insist that all our attached offices should pay taxes & duties as per law. In fact I was shocked to learn that Asansol Durgapur Development Authority had their bank accounts attached by the Income Tax Authority at Durgapur who later has forfeited Rs 24 crores.
Today's Statesman carried an editorial; I reproduce a part of it:
*** That ADDA simply got away without paying tax for the past 30 years is a puzzle that may not be easy for the next government to work out. The present never had the inclination ~ and now doesn’t have the time ~ to get to the root of the default. ADDA’s explanation that it is engaged in development and not to earn profit sounds contrived and feeble; rightly has it cut no ice with the Union ministry of finance. (The Statesman dt 21 March 2011)
I have also come to know that KMDA receives IT notices and they are in touch with legal firm. I was told that SJDA's accounts were also attached some time back. *
Strangely, and pitifully, there is no file or reference in the UD Department. No officer seemed to know anything about it, not to speak of the IT Tax Amendment carried out in 2002 or so that withdrew the exemption given to Development Authorities.
I hope the Accounts Officers come up with a clear note soon.
(*HDA is sending a note to me; I have deleted the reference to HDA)
I received an SMS today that the meeting of the Board of Directors of Kolkata East West Metro is cancelled. I was supposed to fly to Delhi today evening. The meeting was supposed to be held at 10 am on 18th March at Nirman Bhavan, Delhi.
No reasons were given.
I wonder if it has something to do with the following news that appeared on the Indian Express few days ago. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rly-ministry-refuses-to-take-over-eastwest-metro/761474/
I was a panelist in the day-long seminar on Free & Fair Polls. It was organised by an NGO called FAME. My former boss Mr N Gopalaswamy was also there. I'd had a good conversation with him the day before.
Many people are asking me about the fate of Salt Lake Group Housing Lottery scheme that was announced on 28th Feb.
Since the Model Code of Conduct came into force the very next day, we have referred the matter to the Election Commission.
Till we hear from them, we cannot move forward.
Recently, I am again receiving some queries from Development Authorities as to whether they should go for e-tendering or not.
In June 2010, there was a meeting of all Development Authorities where it was recorded that all must introduce e-Tendering procedures using NIC software or otherwise as soon as possible. This was to bring in transparency and wider participation from bidders.
Subsequently, the Information & Cultural Affairs Department issued a GO stating that copy of tenders must be sent in hard and soft forms to them by email.
KMDA has already made some good progress.
I would urge all Authorities concerned to switch to e-tender norms as soon as possible.
I accompanied Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh - who is also the Chairman of HDA - to Haldia. The meeting was routine as most proposals were deferred in view of the Model Code of Conduct. But the time spent on the journey was enjoyable, learning from the insights of the top civil servant of the state whom I admire and respect a lot.
Feedback Ventures and Ghosh, Bose Associates made a presentation today to Chief Secretary at Writers' on the plans for Baruipuur district HQ project.
The general consensus was that the design was too corporatised and unsuitable for govt requirements.
I will hold a review.
* * *
After the meeting that ended at 6 pm, I accompanied Chief Secretary to his room. Few other Secretaries also trooped in. We saw TV announcement of poll schedule.
The Code of Conduct starts.