Maharashtra transporters demand withdrawal of entry tax by Goa govt



Panaji: Transporters from the neighbouring Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra on Monday held protests on the state border warning to intensify their agitation if Goa government did not withdraw the entry tax imposed on the vehicles entering the state.

A group of around 100 people blocked the Mumbai-Goa highway at Banda village in the morning for half-an-hour protesting against the imposition of entry tax on the vehicles with non-Goa registration entering the state from today.

The Goa government has started charging Rs 1,000 per truck, Rs 500 for tempo, Rs 250 for four wheelers and Rs 100 for three-wheelers.

Responding to the protests, Goa government today decided to exclude the people living in the neighbouring districts of Belgaum (Karnataka), Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) and Karwar (Karnataka) from the entry tax for a fortnight, till a concessional pass system is worked out for them.

"For a fortnight, we will exclude the people from these areas from the entry tax," Goa Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said here.

The protesters, however, were not happy with the state government's announcement. "We demand that the government rolls back the tax completely," Baptist Fernandes, president of Truck Operators Association, Sawantwadi (Maharashtra), told reporters at the protest site.

He gave a deadline of 15 days for the state government to withdraw the tax. "If Goa government does not withdraw the tax over the next 15 days, then we will stop all the vehicles with Goa registration from entering Maharashtra and also stop the vehicles going to Goa with the essential commodities," Fernandes threatened.

Other associations like the Taxi Operators Association and Tempo Operators Association in Sawantwadi, had participated in the protests.

Dhavalikar told the Legislative Assembly today that the government will exempt talukas of Sindhudurg, Karwar and Belgaum from the entry tax.

He said there was no need for resentment for the tax because similar toll tax was imposed by Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had refused to roll back the entry tax, which is projected to earn Rs 100 crore annually for the state government.

PTI