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Frequent hike in diesel prices badly hits transport sector

Transport sector, which has been facing numerous problems, may plunge into further crisis with the frequent hike in prices of diesel and exorbitant taxes collected by the State and Central governments. Transport sector has been providing livelihood to nearly 30 lakh workers directly or indirectly in the state and generating substantial revenue to the government. Prices of tyres and spares are also increased every year causing huge burden on the truck operators.
The truck operators across India are demanding the respective State governments and the Central government to reduce the burden of taxes. If the governments don’t respond, the truck operators may go for all-India strike on July 20, 2018, said Y V Eswara Rao, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners Association. He said transport operators across the State are facing many hardships due to rise of diesel prices and taxes. Between February 2016 and May 2018, the diesel cost shot up by nearly 50 per cent due to rise in taxes.
Diesel price per litre was only Rs.50 in February 2017. Now, it has gone up to Rs.74 on Saturday. It is feared that the price of diesel may reach to Rs.77 or 78. Speculations are rife that the prices of diesel and petrol would rise further very soon due to rise of fuel prices in international market. AP is the transport hub for South India with nearly 3 lakh trucks in the state, out of which Krishna district has 50,000 trucks.
Transport operators depend on transportation of agriculture products like tobacco, cotton, paddy, chilli, pulses, fish, poultry products and manufactured goods. The State Government is collecting 22 percent tax on the base rate and additional VAT of Rs.4 per each litre from the customers. This has become huge burden on the diesel consumers, said ASRSS Siva Prasad, Chartered Accountant. He said the State governments in the country are levying more tax compared to the Union government on the fuel. Diesel and petrol are not brought under the purview of GST because, the state governments may don’t agree for it. The truck operators are paying tax to get National permit.
Besides, quarterly tax is paid to the State government. In addition, they are paying third party insurance premium, about Rs.48,000 for each truck, said Y V Eswara Rao. The Central government is increasing the Toll gate fee on the national highways. He said the government is collecting toll fee of Rs.7 to 9 for each km from the truck operators and they are unable to bear the expenses like increasing prices of tyres and spare parts. He said the GST on spare parts is 28 percent. Transport operators have to pay quarterly tax, insurance, third party insurance premium whether the vehicle is operated or not, said AdusumilliSadasiva Rao, General Secretary of the Krishna District Lorry Owners Association.