For the truck drivers moving on the National Highway-28 the Tamkuhiraj barrier located on the UP- Bihar border is just like an LoC. Besides, depositing the tax, the truck drivers have to get all the documents regarding goods and vehicle cleared in the State Trade Tax office located near the barrier. Even if the drivers do not have required documents or money to pay the taxes, they need not worry.
The likes of Kallu, Usman, Parvez and Master Ravindar would take care of their problems. They would not only get all the papers cleared in the office but also the permit to transport the goods across the border.
On both the sides of the NH hordes of brokers have set up their stalls with large hoardings. Each hoarding has a number and name of the broker scribbled on it. Even the name of several transporters is written on the board.
There is complete peace on the border even despite a large number of trucks crosses the barrier. One stall owner Shyam says there is no competition between the brokers. “We havecommitted customers and once we provide them service, they will not go to another broker.” “I provide service to the trucks coming from Rajasthan,” he says. To ensure that the truck drivers face no difficulty in tracing us, we have displayed the name of the transporters on the board.
The brokers are waiting for the truck drivers. The brokers’ fee varies according to the work. There is separate charge if the truck is overloaded, moving without document or the truck owners have not cleared the taxes. The brokers have good understanding with the trade tax department babus and once the cash crosses the hands, the babu puts the stamp on the papers and the barrier is lifted for the trucks.
There is no cheating in this business as the truck drivers and the brokers have faith in one another. Some time we arrange money for the truck drivers if the demand of the babu is high and the driver runs short of money, says another broker, Aftab. In the next trip the truck driver clears the dues. Trade Tax Department officer SK Tiwari accepts that brokers are flourishing due to corrupt practices of the clerks posted at the barrier. No doubt the Trade Tax is losing revenue, he rued.