Businessmen had barely heaved a sigh of relief as the strike called by truck operators ended on Friday, when another trouble surfaced to give them sleepless nights. There are mounting concerns that e-Way bills, used for transport of goods, will expire due to the delay caused by the strike, resulting in penalties to the businessmen.

Business bodies in Gujarat have urged the state and central governments to adopt a lenient approach and not penalize businessmen if businessmen or transporters are not at fault.

An e-Way bill is an arrangement under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and is required if goods worth or above Rs 50,000 are transported between states. For intra-state movement of goods, each state has its own standards. In Gujarat, an e-Way bill is required for transport of 19 category of goods over a distance of 50 km and above. However, each e-Way Bill has an expiry date based on the distance that has to be covered. The distance covered each day must be a minimum of 100 km and the total distance must be covered in the stipulated number of days accordingly. If the goods are not transported in the number of days that would take as per this arrangement, the e-Way bill expires, resulting in a penalty on the businessman who generated the e-Way bill.

With the eight-day strike by transporters, a large number of e-Way Bills generated will naturally get expired and goods in transit will have to face problems, fear businessmen.

Tax advocate Axat Vyas said that an estimated 1,70,000 e-Way Bills are generated in Gujarat every day. While tax officials have the authority to extend the expiry date of bills on a case-to-case basis, with transporters going on a strike, there will be a large number of bills which will have to have their expiry date needs revised. However, authorities cannot extend the expiry date for such a large numbers of bills.

Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) wrote letters to union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday to ask tax officials to be sympathetic in cases where e-Way Bills have expired because of the strike. “We would therefore request you to kindly consider notifying the goods for which e-Way Bills have been issued near to the strike period, so that traders are not harassed and they do not have to bear the financial burden for no fault of theirs,” said Jaimin Vasa, president of GCCI in the letter.

Nitesh Saglani, a trader of sugar in Junagadh, also raised fears that the expiry of e-Way Bills will create unwanted hassles for a large number of traders and transporters.

Courtesy: DNA India

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