Bokaro deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar (left) at the meeting with government officials and representatives of PSUs on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, Nov. 16: Three motorcycles and one car ferry 15 tonne coal for a BCCL colliery regularly!
This improbable assertion, made by the PSU’s Dugda Coal Washery unit, led a furious Bokaro district administration to lodge an FIR today with the hope that it unearths an open secret about coal firms evading road tax by using old vehicles bearing registration numbers of neighbouring states.
Bokaro deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar also directed district transport officer Vijay Kumar Gupta to initiate action against other PSUs, including Kathara Dhori, Bokaro & Kargali and Electro Steel Casting Ltd, for using heavy vehicles that were registered in states other than Jharkhand.
“Jharkhand was losing crores of rupees due to non-payment of road and vehicle registration taxes as coal companies aren’t registering their vehicles in the state,” Kumar told The Telegraph after a meeting with the companies.
The district administration pointed out that more than 400 trucks, dumpers and other heavy vehicles, which were more than 15 years old, were being used in Jharkhand.
“These vehicles were registered in other states, but were doing business here without paying single paise tax,” Kumar asserted.
PSUs and several other large companies, he added, were hiring private vehicles to be used for commercial purposes (transportation of coal) without paying the road tax fixed for commercial vehicles.
“We will launch a massive drive to catch all unregistered heavy vehicles that are being used in mines and factories,” he said.
Besides senior officials of the district administration, today’s meeting was attended by GM of Kathara colliery K.K. Mishra, GM of Dhori colliery Charan Singh, GM of Bokaro and Kargali collieries Anurag Kumar, DGM of Electro Steel C.P. Pandey, and senior officers of Jaypee Cement S.N. Prasad and SAIL R.K Singh.
The drive to rein in coal companies was initiated months ago. The district transport officer served two notices to all coal collieries of CCL and BCCL, including Bokaro Steel, Jaypee Cement, Electro Steel and SAIL’s Central Economic Zone, a distribution centre of the steel PSU.
The first notice was issued on September 4, followed by another one on September 14, asking the companies to submit a list of all vehicles — like dumpers, pay-loaders, hall-pack loaders and even private vehicles — used by them in a month to transport coal.
Despite repeated reminders only two companies, Jaypee Cement and BCCL’s Dugda Coal Washery, submitted a list. But the BCCL’s Chandrapura unit handed over a ludicrous list containing registration numbers of one motorcycle and three private cars which it was purportedly using to ferry coal.
This prompted today’s FIR.
The Bokaro DC, citing a high court order in a case concerning Meghahatu Iron Ore Mines (no: WP(T) 3801/12), said the district transport officer had every right book heavy vehicles — giant dumpers and various kinds of loaders — that were ferrying 50 to 100 tonne of raw material for evading tax.
“This could fetch the state government at least Rs 5 crore if we started collections now,” said Kumar.