By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 6: At a time when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is harping on increasing revenue generation, the State’s Transport department seems to be going precisely the opposite way.
Blame it on rampant corruption, the six check gates under the State Transport department have recorded a significant slump in revenue collection in the last decade.
Official documents in possession with The Sentinel say that the total revenue collection in the check gates – located along the inter-state borders at Srirampur, Boxirhat, Digarkhal, Kathkotia, Dholai and Khatkhati – dipped from Rs 32.02 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 6.79 crore in 2014-15. The steep drop in these nine years is nearly 75 per cent.
The Srirampur check gate had recorded the highest revenue collection (Rs 19.35 crore) in 2006-07, but the amount dipped to Rs 2.01 crore in 2014-15.
This despite the fact that the number of goods-carrying vehicles entering the State have been increasing over the years.
Officials in the Transport department have no explation for the drastic decline in revenue collection.
Transport minister Ajit Singh admitted the slump in revenue collection. “I joined as a minister only last year. But the revenue collection has been dipping since the last several years. One reason is that overloading of trucks has almost stopped. Transportation of coal and timber has also decreased significantly. But I am trying to streamline the department in order to increase revenue collection,” Singh said.
But sources said it the revenue shortfall is due to rampant corruption prevalent in the check gates.
“Generally, what happens is that though the money is collected from the vehicles, they are not registered officially. The money goes into the pockets of the officials manning the gates. There cannot be any other reason for the dip in revenue collection,” said the sources.
It is a known fact that government personnel are keen on getting postings at the check gates. No wonder there are even reports about employees paying bribes to get posted at these lucrative check gates.