The government has finally agreed to pay the Customs Duty on the River Princess scrap thereby paving way for unloading the scrap to be transported to scrap yards where it will be sold.
Although work on removing the vessel has begun, as the Central Excise department is yet to notify the Britona jetty as a warehouse, the scrap loaded on barges cannot be unloaded there. Britona jetty as already been notified by the Customs as a Customs point where the scrap will be weighed and valued.
The delay in notifying the Britona jetty as a warehouse was due to the State government’s failure to deposit the customs duty which is estimated to be around Rs 3.94 crore. The state government had to pay the customs duty as River Princess is a foreign vessel.
Director of Tourism Swapnil Naik informed that since Candolim has also been declared as a customs point, the cheque towards the payment of customs duty will be issued within 24 hours. He also assured that all steps are being taken to ensure that the operations do not cause any further environmental damage.
As for the work of cutting the ill fated vessel, nearly 15 per cent of the upper portion has been cut and work on cutting the under water portion will begin in a week’s time. Dredging of the area below the waterline is in progress to facilitate the under water cutting.