NEW DELHI: The travel time of long-haul trucks and other cargo vehicles has reduced by at least one-fifth since border check posts have been removed across the country following the implementation of GST.
However, top executives of major logistics firms said while tax officials have largely disappeared from roads, transport department officials are extorting money on some pretext or the other.
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While Chhattisgarh became the first state to do away with check-posts of regional transport offices (RTOs), sources said the Centre is considering to ap peal other states to follow suit. Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said that in the near future there will be no checking by RTOs on highways as all the toll plazas will get ‘weight-in-motion’ bridges to check overloading.
“The total travel time between Delhi and Mumbai is now three days in comparison to four days before GST. Similarly, now it takes five days to cover the Delhi-Chennai stretch against six-and-a-half days earlier. Assam is the only state, which has not removed border check-posts,” said Rajesh Agrawal, chairman of All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) and head of Aggrawal Packers and Movers Ltd.
Aggarwal said the provision of “no detention” by tax officials has cut down the inordinate delay of vehicles reaching the destination. “We expect the government will act quickly after receiving any such complaint,” he added.
Even the Car Carriers Association said the travel time of trucks carrying automobiles has improved. “Removal of check posts is a welcome sign. But you have flying squads and RTO officials flagging vehicles at other locations. This must be stopped. Such officials have shifted their base only to avoid any traffic pile-up at particular locations,” Vipul Nanda of the association said.
But there is also a view that the reduction in travel time of cargo vehicles on major routes is due to fall in such traffic and vehicles carrying items such as food and agriculture produce, petroleum and LPG tankers are not impacted by GST.
“There is almost 40% reduction in movement of vehicles carrying parcel consignments because of less booking of such taxable consignments and the transport agents fearing action. Without e-way bill and by ending the old system of transit permit, now there is a vacuum, ” said S P Singh of IFTRT, a Delhi-based think tank.