Trucks carrying goods have sought government intervention for extending the due date of payment of road tax and GST to September 30 amid growing concerns of penalizing truck drivers during the lockdown period.
“After the Centre relaxed norms on expired national permits we have also requested the government to grant extension on payment of road tax. The issue of e-way bill expiry is yet to be resolved. There is a growing concern of overzealous personnel extorting and penalizing truckers once the trucks start moving. Other concerns about, insurance premium, goods tax, road tax etc. too needs to be addressed urgently. On an average we are facing a loss of Rs 2000 crore per day,” Kultaran Singh Atwal, president All India Motor Transport Congress said. Under GST, transporters have to carry an e-way bill for movement of goods.
“More than 85% of the trucking population is of small operators having one to five trucks and once their wheels stop moving there is no other source of income for them. In the ongoing lockdown, there is no business or revenue inflow to the transporter. Given the present critical situation of the trade, the poor truckers and transporters are devastated and the situation has been further aggravated by the lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis. It will be very difficult for them to pay road tax, goods tax or token tax till September 30,” a letter written to Union Minister for Road Transport and highways Nitin Gadakri by the apex body of registered goods trucks said.
Transport associations have also raised concerns with the ministry of road transport and highways alleging non-compliance of the ministry of home affair’s order to all states allowing transport of both essential and non-essential goods.
“MHA’s order has not percolated to the ground level even though operators want their vehicles to move. Trucks are still being stopped at various state borders and many complaints of vehicles being stopped have come from states like Delhi, UP and Haryana. We are also getting reports of consignors pushing transporters to move fresh loads. There is no staff left, no labour, traders, factories and workshops are also closed, and the drivers have no facilities for eating or basic shelter,” Singh said.
The transport ministry has also discussed the issue of the logjam across highways with lakhs of trucks stranded as movement has been stalled since the lockdown, with the home ministry. The lockdown left nearly six lakh cargo carrying trucks stranded across the country. The home ministry on March 29 had allowed transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential items during the lockdown period.