July 5, 2017 1:31:28 am
At the Delhi Noida Direct Flyway (DND), toll plaza operator Sunil Kumar said the number of trucks entering Delhi has dropped about 40%, from 8-9 lakh a day to 5-6 lakh. Uncertain how GST works, many truckers have stopped ferrying goods for the time being.
At DND for example, the toll plaza has done away with collecting octroi among various taxes but still charges toll tax and green tax for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. At Ghazipur on the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, the checkpoints for octroi themselves have been removed. And at the Gurgaon-Faridabad and Kherki Daula toll plazas are charging the same taxes as they did before July 1.
From the nature or absence of collections, to slower or smoother movement of trucks, the effect of GST on toll plazas has varied from state to state.
KARNATAKA: All 21 checkpoints have been removed from July 1. A notification by commercial tax commissioner Ritvik Pandey on June 29 said: “We have decided to close all the checkpoints established by the Commercial Tax department due to implementation of GST to help businessmen to continue their business without any hurdles. It helps them to transport goods from one state to another.” Also, all VAT offices have been renamed Local GST offices.
KERALA: With sales tax checkpoints abolished on July 1, goods vehicles need no longer wait in queue; they can pass after submitting a declaration about the goods. At Valayar checkpoint, the main gateway of Kerala, officials said there is a slight fall in the number of trucks due to confusion over GST.
JHARKHAND: All 10 border checkpoints were closed two weeks ago. “Since then, vehicles are moving freely in and out. There has been a revenue loss, but that is likely to be compensated within the GST framework,” said an official. The estimated loss at Hazaribagh has around Rs 2.5 crore so far. “We have not got any reports of truckers being stopped or jams,” said district transport officer (Hazaribagh) Shabbir Ahmed. Earlier, a six-member team used to carry out checks — an assistant commissioner and five commercial tax officials. Now, no one from the commercial tax department is at this post.
CHHATTISGARRH: Transport and PWD Minister Rajesh Munat announced Tuesday that all 16 checkpoints would be shut by midnight. RTO officers posted at the checkpoints have been transferred.
UTTARAKHAND: Border trade with China and Nepal, via Pithoragarh and Champawat districts, has slowed down. On Monday, customs officers at Dharchula stopped businessmen not registered under GST from taking goods to Nepal, leading to protests by a traders’ union. “Even after counselling and training, most traders haven’t got themselves registered under GST. We plan to give them a deadline,” said Pithoragarh district magistrate C Ravishankar. Trade with China via Lipulekh Pass, near Dharchula, started on June 1; only about 12 traders have gone to China so far, Ravishankar said.
For trade with other states, Uttarakhand abolished checkpoints in May. “However, we do have vigilance teams to check unauthorised entry of goods,” commercial tax commissioner Sridhar Babu Addanki said.
JAMMU & KASHMIR: Amid confusion arising out of the state’s delay in deciding on GST, the number of carriers has come down to a quarter since Saturday. Lakhanpur toll plaza, the gateway to J&K from Punjab with 500 to 800 trucks or a normal day, looked deserted Tuesday. “If the situation persists, there will be a shortage of essential commodities including lifesaving drugs in the next few days,” said Rakesh Gupta, president, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Deputy commissioner (commercial taxes), Lakhanpur, Puneet Sharma said an average 2,000 carriers used to enter the state daily but the number is down to 25 per cent. Only supplies already on their way before July 1, or those exempted, are coming in, he said.
WEST BENGAL: With most transporters yet to obtain a GST identification number, their vehicles are enduring long waits at the Petrapole, Mahadipur, Chyangrabandha and Hili checkpoints that connect to Bangladesh, transporters said. While officials in the customs department did not respond to calls, transporters said checkpoint operators are struggling with the new software and are not fully equipped with basic infrastructure for GST. Over 5,000 trucks used to enter Bangladesh daily from six points; since July 1, 150 have been facing problems at each port, said a transporter. “More than 1,000 trucks are stranded or moving slowly. The maximum number is stranded at Mahadipur. Most of the trucks were loaded before July 1,” said Sajal Ghosh, joint secretary of the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators Associations.
PUNJAB: A large number of transporters are not loading consignments until things become clearer, said All Punjab Truck Unions president Tehal Singh. Trucks already on the way are lined up at tax barriers in Punjab as officials crosscheck consignment bills issued before July 1. “There are some commodities on which advance tax is charged. Billing in those cases was done before GST kicked in. So, the barriers remain,” said Jagjit Singh, president of Jalandhar District Goods Transport Companies Welfare Association. “The e-way bill system has been deferred for two months; once it starts, there will be no need for these barriers. Transporters are being told to get a GST number.”
CHANDIGARH: “We used to send around 200 trucks a day from Chandigarh and now the number is down to 10,” said Chandigarh Transport Association president K K Abrol. “There is confusion among the traders after the implementation of GST. Business is down.” At the Chandigarh transport area in Sector 26, truck driver Karan Singh from Himachal Pradesh said, “I reached Chandigarh on Saturday morning and have been here since. There is no work.”
HIMACHAL PRADESH: Barriers at 34 points have been removed but certain barriers remain for state-specific collection, government officials said. “Movement of goods has slowed down as transporters have to get GST numbers. If border checkpoints are abolished in all states, truck movement will become smooth,” said Vidya Rattan, president of the Nalagarh Truck Operators’ Union which runs 9,500 trucks.
DELHI: At DND, where business has reportedly fallen 40 per cent, truck operator Pratap Bhati, ferrying vegetables to Delhi, grumbled, “If GST is supposed to be a uniform tax, why are they still asking us to pay MCD toll and green tax?” At the Delhi-Ghaziabad border, Ved Pal, who owns seven trucks, said his business is down 80 per cent. “The only goods my trucks are transporting are vegetables and milk. No one is sure about the effect of GST. Drivers need to be paid but there are no assignments,” Pal said.
Business as usual
Gurgaon: At Gurgaon-Faridabad and Kherki Daula, toll plaza operators said there is no change. “We have not made any alterations from our side after GST came into effect, and the daily average of vehicles crossing the border is as usual,” said an official of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, which handles the Gurgaon-Faridabad plaza. At Kherki Daula, officials said there is “a slight drop” in the number of trucks. “We have not made any changes from our side,” said an official of Skylark group, which handles the plaza.
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