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Three months into the GST regime, textile traders in Surat have devised a new way to avoid paying GST on the goods. Dainik Bhaskar's Surat edition reports that traders in the textile hub are using the services of private buses to transport their goods to different places like Delhi, Rajasthan and elsewhere. The buses are meant to carry passengers, but in the busy and sprawling Surat textile market, the slew of private buses are loaded with heaps of clothes and are sent across states sans payment of any cess under the GST regime. Bhaskar reports that instead of sending goods in trucks with the requisite documentation, they are sending cloth worth Rs 10 crore every day through buses. Bus operators carry the goods without any need for GST number, Form 402 or any other document. Goods are loaded from 8 am in the morning to 10 pm at night. Bus operators have devised their own receipt system to identify goods.
This illegal channel is resulting in huge loss for business owners across thousands of Surat’s small-scale trading, weaving and dyeing units, which together churn out around 40 million metres of fabric each day.Parcels weighing 40 to 50 kgs are loaded in the buses an hour and a half before departure. Bus operators have also seen their income double as a result. They charge anywhere between Rs 300 to Rs 400 for these parcels. Traders say that in the past, only urgent shipments were dispatched through buses but this has reached a different proportion since GST was implemented. The equivalent of 50 trucks of goods is sent in 100 private buses every day. Bhaskar says that nearly Rs 10 crore worth of goods are moved through this channel. A representative of a trade association told Bhaskar that the government is aware of this modus operandi but is not taking appropriate action and that is hurting honest traders who are still paying taxes.