The Goods and Services Tax system celebrated its fifth anniversary on July 1. While the majority of states removed regional Transport Office (RTO) checkpoints from their borders after the implementation of Goods Service Tex (GST) in 2017, others have not yet done so. Numerous truckers and carriers complain of severe corruption, heavy traffic, and delays close to the checkpoints, but the Bhartiya janta Party (BJP)-led state administration seems to be doing little about it. This is despite the fact that, in the aftermath of the implementation of the GST system, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) instructed all states to remove RTO checkpoints.
15 RTO checkpoints are still in use, notwithstanding the removal of business tax checkpoints under the GST regime. Why not Karnataka if states like Gujarat could do away with RTO checkpoints? The GST regime's goal of ensuring smooth truck and other vehicle mobility is defeated by this. According to a truck owner, certain transport department employees are opposed to the idea of removing checkpoints for reasons that are best known to them.
Officials from the transport department insist that these checkpoints are necessary for "physical verification of vehicle paperwork." At these checkpoints, we mostly look for overloading, road fee infractions, and permission violations. We also issue permits, a representative of the transport department stated. MORTH asserted, however, that the Vahan site may be used for both the granting of licenses and the payment of road taxes. B Sriramulu, the minister of transportation, declined to comment.
The 15 checkpoints received Rs 54 crore in penalties and permission fees in 2020–21 alone. The delivery of freight is delayed due to lengthy lines of vehicles carrying cargo near checkpoints. A MORTH research claims that, in contrast to US trucks, average Indian trucks travel just 50,000 to 60,000 kilometers annually.
Karnataka State Travel Operators Association President K. Radhakrishna Holla stated, When the Center adopted the GST regime, it pledged to abolish inter-state checkpoints. Digital ones are used in states like Gujarat. In Karnataka, there have been several reports of corruption at checkpoints. There is no need for these checkpoints because MORTH has the Vahan and Sarathi websites, which include all vehicle information and provide online services. For digital checkpoints, Radio Frequency Identification technology similar to that used at toll booths might be implemented.
"When GST and the e-way law were announced, carriers were quite enthusiastic, but certain states, like Karnataka, have yet to eliminate RTO checkpoints," said Bal Malkit Singh, the former president of the All-India Motor Transport Congress. There is no longer a need for human involvement because of improved technology and the availability of all vehicle and driver information through MORTH. In Karnataka, RTO checkpoints are notorious for their corruption and harassment. Karnataka should follow MORTH's directive and provide assistance to truckers now that the BJP is in control at both the federal and state levels.
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