Committee to examine levy of toll at Lakhanpur

Committee to examine levy of toll at Lakhanpur

Industry bodies oppose revocation of J&K’s entry tax

As the government on Monday ordered constitution of a committee to examine imposition of toll tax levied at Lakhanpur post, the industrialist bodies in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions have opposed revocation of the entry tax arguing “it would prove fatal for local industry.” 

While as the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has “questioned the composition of the committee.”

Post-implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which subsumed all other indirect and direct taxes, the state government which was led by PDP-BJP government at the time of implementation of GST, kept in place the toll tax in order to provide level playing field to the local industry in the state with the big companies and MNCs, as it is already suffering due to geographical disadvantage. 

According to a senior official, who does not want to be named, the governor administration had a change of mind as a Jammu based trade body wants toll tax to be removed but the industrialists from Kashmir as well as Jammu are up in arms against any such decision.

The order issued by the state administration today read: “sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of a committee, to examine the level of toll tax being levied on various products entering the state. The production of those products within the state, export of locally produced products from the state and modifications, if any, as may be needed.”

Director industries Jammu is the chairperson of the committee, additional commissioner, state taxes department from both Jammu and Kashmir are its member, representatives of directorate of Industries Kashmir and three representatives of chamber of commerce and Industry as its members.

The committee, according to the order, has been asked to submit the report to the principal secretary to industries and commerce before March 1.

“Any attempt to remove toll tax will have serious repercussions on the industry in Jammu and Kashmir. Our industry is already facing daunting task after implementation of GST, the toll tax imposed on finished products is giving advantage to the local industry, if it is done away, our local industry will be shut,” said the president, Federation of Chamber of Industries Kashmir, Muhammad Ashraf Mir.

“Governor administration should keep in mind the large interest of local industry which provides jobs to lakhs of people before taking any adverse decision,” he said.

Commenting on the issue, Federation Chamber of Industries Jammu, Lalit Mahajan said that they have already presented their view point before the governor administration.

“Both industries bodies of Jammu and Kashmir in a joint representation have expressed their view against the removal of toll tax,” he said.

Meanwhile, KCCI in a letter addressed to the governor has stated “constitution of the Committee gives an impression that it is a region based committee only.”

It states that to examine a state level issue, Director Industries and Commerce Jammu has been nominated as chairperson. To our understanding, the chairperson of the committee needs to be at least Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce having jurisdiction over the whole state, with both the respective Directors Industries (Jammu/Kashmir) as members.

“ That it is very surprising that the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries has not been given due representation in the committee and we fail to comprehend as to who amongst the nominated members would be conveying the viewpoint of the industries from Kashmir Region.

“Manner in which the Committee has been constituted is questionable and undermines the seriousness of the issue under examination,” it adds.