Trade lobbies urge Goa to roll back entry tax

Panaji, April 23 (IANS) Trade and transport lobbies from neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra Tuesday urged Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to roll back the controversial entry tax on trucks entering the state or grant concession for regular operators.

In a memorandum to Parrikar, representatives of trade panels from the two states said the entry tax (Rs.500 and above for trucks depending on the tonnage and size of the vehicle) was causing hardship to the traders and the people of Goa, who had to shell out more for their goods.

“The additional burden is felt more severely by vehicles from neighbouring districts like Hubli, Dharwad, Belgaum, Karwar (all from Karnataka) and Kolhapur (Maharashtra) who are making daily trips carrying essential commodities like vegetables, pulses, rice, cereals plus fish, eggs, meat, milk etc,” the memorandum said.

While the state has taken a huge revenue hit, owing to the mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court, the state government was forced to increase commercial taxes in a bid to cope up with the shortfall in revenue.

The toll booths, set up on Goa’s road borders last week, are expected to scoop revenue to the tune of Rs.50 crore, from the thousands of tourists who drive down to the state everyday and commercial vehicles entering the state.

Three-wheelers entering Goa are being charged Rs.100, tempos Rs.500, four-wheelers Rs.250 and heavy vehicles upwards of Rs.500.

The traders have demanded a monthly pass system, separate lane for entry for pass holders, a 75 percent reduction in entry fee for pass holders among other demands.

Parrikar has already said that he was unwilling to succumb to blackmail by traders outside Goa. He told the Goa assembly that it was a matter of “prestige” for Goa and it was the state’s prerogative to decide and impose taxes for the goods enetering the state.

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