Jammu and Kashmir government has introduced Goods and Service Tax (GST) generated e-way bills as transit permits in timber trade to save time, and also to encourage trade. The Forest Department has notified new rules regulating “transportation of forest produces” under Jammu and Kashmir Forest Produce Transit Rules, 2020 which has has replaced ‘River Rules of December 16, 1907, and Land Transport Rules of 448 of 1935.’ Under the new rules, a printout of e-way bill generated from the Goods and Service Tax (GST) will be considered as transit permit for transportation of forest produce.
“If someone transporting timbers from outside to Jammu and Kashmir after paying GST and have e-way bill, then he/she does not have to get form-25 from J&K on his entry,” said the officer. “We have introduced the new rules to save the time,” said the officer. He said the Union Government has also started the process for intruding GST e-way bills to be considered as transit permits across the country for forest produce. “The new rules will encourage individuals who are in this business and there is no need for transit permit for transportation of timber obtained for trees like popular, eucalyptus, willow, kikar which are generally raised by the farmers on their private land.”
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Forest Produce (sale and registration of depot) rules 2020 have also been notified. “These rules provide for one-time registration of forest produce sale depots, and periodic renewal of registration under the previous rules has been done away with the timber traders as well as farmers of Jammu and Kashmir which will benefit from simplification of both the rules.”
The new rules give impetus to farm forestry and wood-based industries as well as to provide a robust framework for protection of forests and biodiversity. “Depot registration will now be required for those who trade in some valuable non-timber forest produce like guchhi and 13 others. This provision has been incorporated to check illegal trade in such species which erodes biodiversity of Jammu and Kashmir and causes losses to the revenue exchequers,” the officer added.