Border check gates to be closed from Aug 1

 GUWAHATI, July 16 – All check gates along the inter-state borders, including those dealing with non-GST items like transport, excise, etc., will be closed down from August 1, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today.

“The government has taken an in-principle decision to shut down all check gates along the inter-state borders. As a measure of goodwill, the State government has decided to go beyond GST and close down even those gates which deal with non-GST items,” Sarma said.

Admitting that the government will suffer a revenue loss because of the decision, Sarma said actual impact of the move on government revenue will be known only after a year.

The minister further indicated that once the gates are closed down, it will send a positive signal across the country and as a result, businesses are likely to flourish which in turn could make up the government’s revenue loss.

“Some departments like excise, transport or for that matter even the Agriculture Marketing Board will have to bear major losses in terms of revenue,” he said, adding that the government will hold a meeting of all departments concerned tomorrow to chalk out a detailed policy in this regard.

The Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board is heavily dependent on the check gates for its cess collection. Funds for all affairs of the marketing board, including the salaries of 1,100 employees, are met from the cess collection.

“We will have to device a detailed policy to give some sort of compensation to these departments like the marketing board. In case of excise, the government will have to reduce the State taxes to make the prices at par with other states so that illegal transportation stops. We will take a final decision tomorrow,” the minister said.

For enforcement of transport laws and other checking, the government is likely to deploy flying squads.

The State government has also launched the trial of the e-way billing system which will ensure barrier-free movement of goods under the GST regime. According to Sarma, the system would be in place before August 1.

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