GST squads intensify crackdown on illegal resale of fuel in north Kerala

Squads to operate 24x7 covering the borders of Kozhikode and Kannur districts

Published - June 09, 2024 12:51 am IST - Kozhikode

Enforcement squads under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) department have stepped up flash vehicle inspections in northern Kerala to track illegal transport and resale of fuel purchased from Mahe. The places bordering Kozhikode and Kannur districts will be monitored 24x7 to prevent the illegal sale and tax evasion attempts.

Officials with the GST squads confirmed that they have exposed around 30 incidents under the Kozhikode zone alone. The fine collected would amount to around ₹60 lakh, they added.

The differences in fuel price in the Union Territory continue to be an attraction in black-markets. Sources said many of the sellers have direct ties to quarry operators and fishing boat owners, who were also their frequent purchasers. The regular buyers manage to secure supplies below market rates, they added.

“When diesel bought from Mahe is resold in neighbouring districts, the sellers get a profit of ₹10 per litre. They demand higher prices from buyers who do not have fuel stations in their area,” said a goods-carrier driver from Vadakara, who has witnessed the large-scale purchase of fuel by taxi and goods-vehicle operators from Mahe for resale. He added the illegal practice has flourished due to the cooperation of fuel station operators in Mahe.

Complaints have also come up against some of the goods-vehicle operators, who frequently travel between Kozhikode and Mahe to get low-cost fuel. Besides filling their tanks, such operators also acquire additional stock in plastic containers.

The majority of fuel station owners have disregarded restrictions on dispensing fuel in bottles owing to the lack of effective monitoring.

Meanwhile, some of the fuel station owners in Kozhikode and Kannur have called for increased surveillance by the highway patrol squads and the Excise department. They said the unsafe transportation and the storage of illegally purchased stock have posed a safety threat that should be addressed immediately.

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