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Thursday, Aug 26, 2004

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Truckers demand Minister's confirmation on service tax

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The transporters also contested Mr Chidambaram's statement that they had refused to sign the minutes.

New Delhi , Aug. 25

REJECTING the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram's assurance that service tax will not be imposed on truck owners and operators, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Wednesday urged him to confirm that they will not be required to collect the levy from the customers when Goods Receipt Note (GRN) is issued.

"The service tax is liable to be collected once GRN is issued whether by goods agencies or truck owners/operators. So, how the truck owners/operators are exempted from the payment of service tax," asks Mr B.N. Dhumal, President, AIMTC.

The Finance Minister had also stated on Wednesday that the owner of up to three trucks will be exempted from registration by excise authorities nor would they have to collect the service tax. "But, what about those who have more than three trucks. Whether they shall not be subjected to service tax? he asked.

Moreover, a customer/consignor would try and look for a truck owner who has three trucks or less so as to avoid paying service tax. Besides, how will the Government officials distinguish between truckers having three trucks and those owning more than three. "How are they going to identify?" asks Mr Dhumal.

The transporters also contested Mr Chidambaram's statement that they had refused to sign the minutes of an agreement reached with the officials from the Finance Ministry. "This is not true. No minutes were drawn in any meeting because the Chairman, CBEC, kept saying that it is an informal discussion and we were meeting like family members. Can they produce any documentary evidence of having asked us to sign the minutes and of our having refused?" he asserted.

The AIMTC said that it would continue the strike till the demand on service tax was met. "We appeal to the Finance Minister to immediately grant a meeting with him in order to resolve our problems in the interests of the national economy," he said.

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