Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates GST Bhawan at Agartala
Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the ‘GST Bhawan’, a project for CGST, CX and Customs Office, Agartala, Guwahati Zone under CBIC, at Agartala, Tripura.
The GST Bhawan is an Office complex in the Centre of Agartala City. The project is located at one of the most preferred locations in Agartala. The project sits at Mantri Bari Road, Agartala and has quick and easy access to all the taxpayers. It is also located at a distance of about 10 km from newly created Agartala Airport complex. The inauguration of project in Amrit Kaal during the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav showcases the strength of New India.
During the event, Secretary, D/o Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Shri Sanjay Malhotra; Chairman, Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Shri Vivek Johri; Member, CBIC, Shri Sanjay Kumar Agarwal; Member, CBIC, Shri Alok Shukla; Chief Commissioner CGST, CX and Customs, Guwahati Zone, Shri Yogendra Garg; senior officers from CBIC, officers and staff from CGST & Customs, Guwahati zone were present.
Addressing the august gathering, Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the people of Tripura on inauguration of GST Bhawan. She emphasised the importance of good infrastructure which can be leveraged to serve taxpayers in a better resulting in improved revenue collection. The building will help the common citizens to come and get facilitated in GST related matters. It increases accessibility of officers to the public. This will help the common citizens to come and get facilitated in GST related matters. During the address, the Finance Minister highlighted that post GST, revenue generation for Tripura has been extremely favourable. Before the GST was introduced, Tripura received only Rs 4.21 crore as Central Sales Tax (CST) in FY 2016-17, whereas the state collected Rs 982.50 crore IGST in FY 2022-23 from Inter-State trade. Also, with GST Bhawan, it becomes important to carry out outreach along with State to make people aware of benefits of GST and encourage more people to get enrolled.
Revenue Secretary Shri Sanjay Malhotra said that infrastructure is important but is relatively easier to create. More difficult task is to maintain it over and ensure that it is used effectively.
Chairman, CBIC, Sh. Vivek Johri said that the Government is striving to ensure that good working environment both for officers and the trade. He stated that this is the second GST Bhawan in the North East and that proposals for GST Bhawans in 3 other North East states are at various stages of approval.
Shri Yogendra Garg, Chief Commissioner CGST & Customs, Guwahati, stated that GST Bhawan Agartala would address the need to provide better taxpayer services by CGST Commissionerate as number of taxpayers has grown from 1,734 pre-GST to over 12,500 taxpayers in 6 years of GST. He assured that GST outreach programmes would be conducted both in this new office as also offsite as directed by the finance minister.
The project was completed in time despite two waves of COVID 19 affecting work and within stipulated timelines of agreement. The project estimated at cost of Rs. 28 crore. The plot of 0.71 acre has a built up area of 3,000 Sq. mtrs or 32,300 sq. ft, thus the average cost of construction pegged at Rs. 93,333/- per sq.mts or Rs. 8,668/- Sq feet. The cost of Rs. 8,668 per sq feet is far less than average cost of construction in Agartala despite best possible facilities and best branded fittings. The Office rooms are airy, nicely ventilated and fitted with energy efficient lightings. The CGST Agartala Commissionerate was created and started functioning in a rented building initially located at Lenin Sarani, Jackson Gate Building, Agartala, Tripura since 2017. The Customs Division and Audit Circle were also functioning at other rented buildings at Agartala.
The proposal for CGST Bhawan was approved for construction by CPWD in July 2019. The land measuring 0.71 acre, which was selected for construction of the building, was owned by the Customs Division, Agartala. The building was completed at a cost of around Rs. 28 crore and handed over by CPWD in December 2022. The total area of the building is about 3,000 sq. mt.
There are a total of 8 floors including the ground floor. The campus and the building is decorated with potted plants outside, on the inside and on the roof top. The building houses two flag hoisting poles, one at the ground floor and one at the rooftop. The building possesses a 11 KVA transformer fed by dedicated underground cables and also owns a DG set for handling power failures. There is a ramp leading to the entrance of the building for differently abled persons and a reception at the entrance. There is a dedicated canteen on the ground floor meant for the officers. Also, in the ground floor are located, the Malkhana, a Dormitory and the Seva Kendra. There are 02 (two) lifts provided for catering to the needs of the officers and visitors. The Conference Hall is situated in the 2nd floor. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor contains the CGST Commissionerate Office. The Audit Circle and Customs Division are sharing the 4th floor and the Customs Division is housed on full of the 5th floor. The Guest Houses are located in the 6th floor and the Auditorium is located on the 7th floor. The fire-fighting system and early warning system is of the best available quality in Agartala. Almost at every floor there is a ladies toilet and water filter.
CBIC is making significant efforts to develop infrastructure projects for the department and staff all over India.