Truck, mine owners opposed to toll

Lorries carrying iron ore, sand, granite and wood will have to pay between Rs 200 and Rs 1000


The proposed levy will hit the earnings of truck owners, mine owners and those who have licences for sand mining. Besides, the public will also be affected, as the truck owners will pass on the burden to those who avail themselves of their services.
The State government has proposed to levy toll, anywhere between Rs 200 and Rs 1,000 per load, on trucks carrying iron ore, sand, granite and wood. According to Secretary of State Transport Authority H G Kumar, about 6,000 trucks carrying these goods would come under the toll net.

However, the government is yet to work out modalities for toll collection. The truck owners estimate that the government would get roughly Rs 200 crore annually with the levying of toll.

Set to strike
Truck owners have decided to go off the roads from the day the government introduces the levy. The Federation of Truck Owners’ Associations President G R Shanmugappa said that representatives of truck owners from different parts of the country would assemble for a meeting in Namakkal, on October 23.
A decision would be taken at the meeting to stop entry of trucks to Karnataka borders from the day the toll would be introduced.

“If the government wants to earn revenue for relief works in flood-hit areas let the chief minister reduce the size of his ministry. Truck owners are already burdened with different taxes. We have been paying road tax of Rs 21,000 per truck per year. In addition, diesel in Karnataka is Rs 1.5 more per litre than in the neighbouring states,” he argued.
Shanmugappa maintained that the government should levy tax on those extracting iron ore, instead of those who transport it.

However, mine owners feel that it would be a burden on small scale mine owners. Raghavendra Rao, Public Relations Officer of MSPL, one of the biggest mining companies, said, “Big mining company like ours will not be affected by the toll, as we have private railway lines to transport ore to the shipyards. But small scale mine owners would find it difficult to cope with the toll of Rs 1,000 per load,” he said.

Sand price
At present a truck load of sand in Bangalore costs around Rs 12,800. The price would go up by Rs 500 with the toll introduction.

Raghu, Managing Director of Chowdeshwari Builders and Developers said that truckers and sand mining lease owners would pass on the burden to the public.
This would in turn affect the construction sector, he said.

Sand mining lease owners argue that if the government takes effective measures to enforce transport rules, and punishes corrupt officers, the government would get more money than from the levying of toll. “Truck owners will pass on the toll burden to construction companies. Finally, the public are affected. The public have generously contributed for relief works. Let the government make effective use of their contribution,” he added.

Means to be worked out
The Transport Department is yet to work out the means to collect toll. 
D Vijaya Vikram, Joint Commissioner of Transport (Enforcement-South) said that the department was contemplating whether toll booths should be set up or arrangements be made for collection of toll at the site of loading goods. Modalities will be finalised after holding meetings with representatives of all the departments concerned.

HIGHLIGHTS
* Nearly 6,000 trucks under toll net
*  State may get revenue of Rs 200 crore per year
*  Sand price would go up
* Truckers decide to go off the roads
* State Govt yet to work out modalities for collection of toll

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