Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Bhagwant Mann and Durgesh Pathak claimed here on Friday that the state government had notified a tax on carrying sand and gravel in vehicles, including tractor-trailers and tippers.
They said the tax would hurt many people and the government should roll it back. Addressing a press conference, Pathak (AAP’s man in charge of building the organisation structure) and Sangrur MP Mann said the notification issued on March 31 announced an amendment to the Punjab Value-Added Tax Act, 2005.
“The tax per trip will be Rs 4,000 for tractor-trailers, Rs 7,000 for ordinary trucks (up to 9 metric tonne load capacity); and Rs 10,000 for any other big vehicle,” claimed Mann, adding: “The government’s decision is going to make construction material very expensive in the state.”
“It is unclear from the notification if the tax applies to the other-state vehicles or Punjab carriers. Nearly 1,000 vehicles from adjoining states unload sand and gravel in Punjab every day. Now the operators will avoid coming to Punjab and sand mafia will become stronger,” the MP claimed, adding that the AAP will take the issue to the governor and raise it in the next session of Parliament.
Pathak said sand mafia was already collecting “goonda tax” in the state. Punjab excise and taxation commissioner Rajat Agarwal said it was clear that the tax would apply to only vehicles going to the other states. “This tax will not affect the people of Punjab,” he added.