Plywood firms ask industry minister to curb tax evasion

At a state-level meeting of the Punjab Plywood Manufacturers' Association (PPMA), members asked Punjab Industry Minister Anil Joshi to check the huge tax evasion that takes place when wood crosses outside Punjab and later when plywood comes inside the state. Joshi had come to address industrialists at the meeting.

PPMA Chairman Ashok Juneja said, "The plywood industry in Punjab is suffering huge losses because of this. Poplar and Eucalyptus wood is taken out from Punjab in a clandestine manner without paying 12.5 per cent VAT and later finished plywood too comes from the routes with no barrier and, hence, they save another 2 per cent central sales tax (CST). Normally, it is taken to Yamunagar and other cities of Haryana. In total, thus, 14.5 per cent tax is saved and the plywood industry of Punjab is suffering because of this disparity. The plywood coming from Haryana is, thus, being sold off in the market at cheaper rates. This nexus needs to be checked and even excise officials need to be questioned on how they are allowing this tax evasion."

Joshi assured that he would check at the various barriers about this tax evasion. Juneja further told him that there are about 150 plywood making units in Punjab.

Earlier wood was being sold at Rs 300 a quintal as well due to which farmers had lost interest in doing agro-forestry but now they have sown saplings in large numbers as the price has increased to Rs 1,000 per quintal. Still the wood is not in full supply in the market because a large stock is going out of the state.

The new saplings will grow after few years and, hence, as of now demand is not up to the mark The members said that the government must grant subsidies to the plywood units as well because they are agro-based units. However, they are not yet covered in this category.

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