Customs house agencies ease GST-filing procedure at checkpoint

Two customs house agencies (CHA), Government of India-approved clearing agents have started working at Jaigaon’s Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) port, formerly known as land customs checkpoint, to ease Goods and Services Tax (GST) procedures.

The two CHAs working to assist truckers and customs officials are Chaudhary Associates and JL Goward and Company.

The CHAs now compile the consignments’ documents and enter the records to generate a checklist, which are submitted to the IceGate to acquire bill of entry.

Documents are then forwarded to the customs which verify and approve them and are again passed onto the Customs Superintendent for approval. After this, the consignments are allowed to pass through the gate.

While the first company has been in operation since October 3, the other CHA will start work next week. The two clearing agents will now complete the procedures of GST-filing, easing congestion at the EDI Port.

Within the first week, the CHA in operation cleared almost 90% of the backlog, making it possible for transporters to pass the gate.

Prior to this, hundreds of consignments were left stranded at the EDI Port. The two CHAs assured that all pending issues would be resolved once they are fully operational.

“We are working to normalize everything,” Prasant Aggarwal of Chaudhary Associates said. He said exports from Bhutan have resumed and consignments are getting cleared swiftly unlike the imports.

Currently, Chaudhary Associates have 15 staffs. It charges INR 500 per procedure. But the agent is yet to fix actual rates as right now it is on probation.

Now clients filing for GST can be distributed among the agencies and the customs office in order to streamline the procedures, according to Shrikanta Chatterjee of JL Goward and Company.

Another private clearing agent, RK Clearing Agent, had already been working to process customs clearance on GST. However, with more consignments lining up at the international border, the issue of delays in filing GST had become a huge problem.

Earlier, it took more than a week to clear a consignment from the EDI port. Now with two new agents, it takes only up to four days to complete the procedures.

The agents process about 20 consignments a day. “We are happy that CHAs have started working to streamline the procedures,” said Bijay Shankhar, staff of RK Clearing Agent.

President of Jaigaon Transporters Welfare Association JP Shrivastav said with the CHAs on board, the burden of GST-filing has eased substantially.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing