VELLORE: The Budge announcement of levying additional excise duty on fuel and road cess is likely to trigger spike in transportation costs and subsequently leading to spiraling of prices of essential commodities and construction materials.
According to R Selvakumar, president, Vellore Lorry Owners Association, “The truck transportation sector has already been facing worst crisis. The hike in excise duty and road cess will result in hike of transportation costs.”
“As a result, the prices of essential commodities and construction materials will increase,” he added.
A large scale goods transporter said that the transportation costs would go up by at least 15 per cent due to the sudden hike in diesel rate and the truck operators will have to bear the brunt.
Even though they have been clamouring for a rationalization of the hassle ridden road toll fee, the truckers’ plea seems to be fallen on deaf once again as their expectation on the Budget was not fulfilled. So was the case with revising the collection of TDS on transportation costs under section 44 AE of Finance Act.
The truck operators feel the core sector was let down once again. Describing the Budget a ‘big dampener’ for road transport sector, chairman of core committee of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) Bal Malkit Singh said, “Transport sector is further trampled as it was not given relief from TDS by amending the section 44AE of Income Tax Act.”
He recalled that the Finance Minister (in-charge) gave a promise in July 2018 but it was not honoured in the Budget.
“We believe there is a systematic plan to destroy the poor transporters, 85 per cent of them are small operators, entrepreneurs in themselves having 1-5 vehicles to make way for foreign players,” Bal Malkit Singh flayed.
GR Shanmugappa, general secretary of South Zone Motor Transporters Welfare Association (SIMTA), said the transport sector was highly disappointed as the Budget failed to address the issue of rationalizing the road toll.
“Toll barrier free India ushering into seamless movement on roads is a demand pending for 10 years. But the road sector is sidelined and ignored in the Budget,” he said.