Entry Tax: A state-sponsored racket

Chittur Kavu
Chittur Kavu

Chittur Bhagavathi temple  is  just 40 km from Pollachi.   And we paid Rs.600  at the RTO check-post  to get there.  We had hired a  taxi,  Tata Sumo,  from Mysore.   I learnt later that tax is Rs.300 for an Indica or Ambassador.  Smart taxi operators, they say, dodge tax by  switching  colour of  their number-plate,  from yellow to white.  Private vehicles bearing white licence plate are not flagged down at RTO check-posts. Some  taxi operators, they say,  carry two number-plates –  yellow and white.  A white number plate helps in  crossing  RTO check-posts, but then those manning the RTO check-posts are familiar with cab-drivers  making  regular trips on the route.   

Road travel permit is a convenient device adopted by state governments to raise revenue.  It is not a road maintentance levy,  for not all road-users pay at RTO check-posts; taxi-cabs are singled out for collection.   Besides,  the entry tax is not  uniform in all states.  The next time  I visit   Chittur Kavu,  I wouldn’t take Tata Sumo,  that too with Karnataka  number plate.  Trick is  to opt for a Tamilnadu  registered  vehicle,  and,  find a taxi-operator who  switches colour of his number-plate.   

 The entry tax varies with the type of vehicle; and it differs from one state to another. We paid Rs.550 at Bennari check-post to enter Tamilnadu from Mysore.  Kerala charges Rs.600 for the privilege of entering the state.  Tour operators say Karnataka levies the highest entry tax. As if they are doing a huge favour on tourists,  Karnataka is reported to have waived entry tax for vehicles from other states during Dasara (Sept.18-29).