States

GST changes the scene at Walayar check post

A banner displayed at the Commercial Tax counter near Walayar in Coimbatore district.   | Photo Credit: M_PERIASAMY

For 54-year-old Shahul Hamid, it took only 45 minutes on Friday to reach the Walayar check post in Kerala after loading goods at Karumathampatti, near Coimbatore. He just had to submit a copy of the bill and a declaration form at the counter located a short distance from the commercial tax office at Walayar and proceed.

“I am driving lorries for the last 10 years. I thought I will give up the job after July 1, depending on how the situation would be after introduction of GST. But, I am happy now. Normally I would be able to deliver just two loads of goods a month. This month, I have already delivered four loads. Sometimes, nearly 80 lorries would be at the check post and we used to wait for even eight hours for clearance. Now, we can just submit the documents and proceed,” he says.

Israel, another lorry driver who was transporting goods from Andhra Pradesh, said: “There was no stopping at any of the check posts.”

With the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax from July 1, check posts have been done away with. Since businesses are yet to switch over to the new tax system fully, only one third of the vehicles are passing through the check post. However, almost all of the drivers are aware of the documents to be submitted at the counter. Vehicles transporting vegetables, fruits,and petroleum products do not have to stop at all, says an official at the counter. There are two counters, one at Walayar and another about a km away. The Tamil Nadu Commercial Tax Department has also done away with the check posts on Kerala-Coimbatore border at Kande Goundan Chavadi. Exempted goods pass through Pichanur and high value items through Walayar, says an official here.

According to K.S. Kaliaperumal, president of Coimbatore Lorry Owners’ Association, about 2,000 lorries used to pass through Walayar and Velanthavalam every day and 1,500 vehicles used to come from Kerala into Coimbatore district. For the last 12 days there is hardly any movement of goods. “Just about 20 % - 25 % of vehicles are operated,” he said. With industries and truck operators still not clear about a lot of things in GST, there is hardly any movement of goods. However, lorries that used to wait for three or four days at the check post do not do so now, he adds.

Since there is no checking of goods carried in the lorries, there is a possibility of smuggling. The Kerala Government is expected to form additional squads shortly to check smuggling of goods, said an official at Walayar.

While removal of check posts is a relief to the industry and lorry drivers, this has also hit several small businesses at Walayar. For instance, Easwari has a tea stall for the last 15 years. “I have not been able to use fully even one litre of milk today. If the situation continues like this I would have no option but to close down,” she says. Easwari’s mother-in-law started the tea shop nearly 30 years ago and they sell lottery tickets too. “Earlier we used to get ₹6.50 for every lottery sold. Now we get just ₹ 4.50. The loss in lottery sales is almost ₹ 300 a day. And, there is hardly any customers for tea and snacks too,” she says.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:46:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/gst-changes-the-scene-at-walayar-check-post/article19235151.ece

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