PRAYAGRAJ Despite some resistance from traders, the state commercial tax department on Sunday conducted surprise checks at 74 places in Prayagraj division – which includes Prayagraj, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh and Fatehpur districts – to check whether shopkeepers are evading payment of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Additional Commissioner Pradeep Yadav said 23 business establishments were inspected in Prayagraj, 10 in Kaushambi, 12 in Pratapgarh and 29 in Fatehpur on Sunday. He added that action is being taken against traders running their business without proper registrations.
On that day, authorities seized ₹2.45 crore of unaccounted money from the region. GST was not paid on this amount, Additional Commissioner Hareram Chaurasia said. Earlier, also on Saturday, officials conducted a drive to find GST defaulters. Raid and reconnaissance teams targeted 48 places in Prayagraj division. Tax evasion of around ₹1.76 crore was detected by the teams on Saturday.
During raids at several markets, traders gathered to protest the drive. Officials, however, assured them that action would only be taken against those caught evading taxes. Still, several traders kept their shops closed, said Additional Commissioner Mona Tripathi.
Traders are threatening to close if the raids continue
PRAYAGRAJ City traders under the banner of Akhil Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal handed over a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Yadav against the ongoing inspections to check GST evasion. The district president of the traders’ association, Lalu Mittal, claimed that the ongoing drive had created fear among small traders. “Traders cannot provide their tax and accounting details if the department seizes their documents. Small business owners are not able to keep their accounts themselves and are mostly dependent on accountants. The raids will also hurt merchants who pay their taxes on time. Action should be taken against those traders who deal in cash and do business illegally instead of those who pay GST,” Mittal said.
Meanwhile, city unit president Niraj Jaiswal urged officials to go soft on traders as incidents of harassment will tarnish the image of the state government. Office bearers of Prayagraj vyapar mandal led by president Vijay Arora and general secretary Sohail Ahmad also expressed their disappointment over the drive. They said traders will meet GST officials on Monday in this regard. If the raids are not stopped, traders will experience a shutdown, they added.