Workers unload containers of edible oil near TCI godown in Sakchi on Saturday. (Bhola Prasad)
The Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti — a wing of Jharkhand State Agricultural Marketing Board — has discovered a new method by which most traders evade the mandatory mandi tax in the steel city.
The officials found that the government was losing out on a quantum of revenue as many local companies often unloaded consignment of food items at their own godowns instead of doing so at the samiti mandi in Parsudih.
On Saturday, workers of one local snack-manufacturing firm, Girish Chanachur, were caught red-handed.
Acting on an order from Dhalbhum subdivisional officer Prem Ranjan, who is also the chairman of Krishi Utpadan Bazaar Samiti, a team raided the unloading point. Girish Chanachur had to cough up Rs 11,500 as mandi tax for unloading edible oil worth Rs 11.5 lakh.
The Samiti has around 200 godowns on the outskirts of Jamshedpur to store foodgrains, edible oil and fruits.
According to rules, any truck carrying consignment from outside the state has to first enter the Samiti premises where the trader has to pay one per cent mandi tax. After that, the consignment is either stored in Samiti godowns or carried inside the city.
Samiti secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha confirmed that the management of the Sakchi-based snacks company tried to evade the tax by secretly unloading the edible oil.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Sinha said the tendency to evade mandi was common in Jamshedpur. “In 2013-14, we had collected an additional Rs 68 lakh as mandi tax, as traders had to pay penalty for unloading foodgrains and edible oil at their own place of convenience instead of getting the consignment unloaded at the Samiti mandi in Parsudih,” said Sinha.
He added that mandi tax amounts to almost Rs 10 crore every year.
Sources in the traders’ circle revealed that about 400 trucks enter Jamshedpur daily. “But the Samiti authorities have been lackadaisical too. Their activities stop after 10pm, but the entry of trucks and unloading of foodgrains takes place throughout the night,” said a trader on the condition of anonymity.
Secretary Sinha rubbished the allegations and said. “We have installed CCTV cameras at strategic points.”