Current Affairs

Could Goa face shortage of essential commodities because of entry tax?

Goa began collecting entry tax from vehicles entering the state from Monday this week. Transporters allege that the entry tax will increase transportation costs. Goa receives over 80 per cent of vegetables, milk, food grains and other essential commodities from Karnataka and Maharashtra that are transported by road. Over 6,000 trucks enter Goa daily from these two states.

Could Goa face a major crisis in the form of shortage of essential commodities, vegetables, fruits and milk as the All India motor transport congress (AIMTC) Wednesday evening decided not to ply trucks to Goa. AIMTC is protesting the entry tax imposed by the Goa government from April 15.

In a statement to members across the country, AIMTC president Bal Malkit Singh urged members to support the cause of “our trucker and transporter brethren from Karnataka and Maharashtra by not sending your vehicles to the state of Goa”.

Considering that the entry for a truck is 1,000 per trip, truck operators would have to cough up around 30,000 per month if the truck makes a trip a day, Singh said.

Kolhapur lorry operators association on Wednesday also decided not to ply vehicles to Goa. Singh said Belgaum lorry operators have also taken a similar decision and that transporters from the markets of Belgaum in Karnataka and Kolhapur in Maharashtra have decided to stop sending vehicles to Goa from Thursday as the Goa government has failed to roll back the entry tax.

Kolhapur lorry operators’ association president Subhash Jadhav said, “It is totally a wrong decision and has to be withdrawn. Trucks from Kolhapur district supply essential commodities including food grains, milk, sugar, onions, potatoes, garlic daily to Goa.” Large numbers of trucks also come from Belgaum and other neighbouring districts.

Belgaum lorry operators association president Sayyed Jaffar said they decided that no truck from Belgaum district would ply to Goa from the night of April 20. “We are not doing it in a hurry. We are having a meeting with vegetable suppliers on Thursday.”

This development is likely to impact Goa in a big way unless the government offers a solution quickly. “The impact will be felt in Goa on Thursday and by Friday it will be worse,” he said adding that no trucks would be loaded on Wednesday itself.

Asked why the association reversed its decision after the meeting with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday, Jadhav said that despite the assurance that for a week there would be no collection of entry fee from trucks coming from the neighbouring districts, the Goa government authorities collected entry fee on Wednesday. “This is not acceptable,” he said.

On Tuesday transport association heads and leaders of the chambers of commerce and industry from Belgaum and Kolhapur met Parrikar and the chief minister had indicated that he would not give in to their demands of rolling back the entry fee, but asked them to wait for a week for a solution.

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