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Clash between govt depts in J&K still renders 128 solar power plants non-functional

Last Updated on March 29, 2021 at 7:22 pm

The J&K administration spent Rs 9.7 crore in 2014 to install 128 solar power plants at police establishments. Unfortunately, these solar plants are not functioning as a clash broke out between Police and Commercial Tax departments.

A recent report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) states that a problem arose because Commercial Tax Department raised objections on non-settlement of payment of Works Contract Tax (WCT) as spare-parts used in them were brought from outside J&K.

CAG report states that they floated a tender to provide Solar Photovoltaic Power Plants (SSPs) at 562 locations across J&K to ensure a consistent power supply in police establishments. It was mentioned that if State Taxes Department charge Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Service Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) then they will not apply to this contract and would be paid extra by Police Department. Tender also demanded that the entire process of delivery, installation and commissioning of SPPs should be over within a time period of six months from the date when order is made and when it is over.

Supplier also had to take responsibility for warranty of five years for SPPs, 10 years for power output warranty for Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) modules and replacement guarantee of 20 years. Once instalment was over then out of 252 SPPs, 163 of them were found to be not functioning including 128 SPPs for which Rs 9.70 crore were paid.

In August 2015, Department asked the supplier to resolve problems in all 163 non-functional SPPs. The supplier informed the Department that they are replacing old power conditioning unit of these SPPs and have dispatched new power conditioning units to Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Sales Tax Department detained this material on the basis of non-deposit of Work Contract Tax (WCT). Department asked the Government to either provide them Rs. 3.80 crore for WCT at a rate of 10.50 per cent or waive off these taxes.

Five years have been passed since and 128 SPPs are still non-functional. Both the government departments failed to successfully co-ordinate and settle the issue of payment of WCT which caused non-functional SPPs. Even though the government spent Rs 9.70 crore still their benefits could not be availed.