Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crossing the border - an octroi story

For some reasons unknown to me Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad are two different towns and have different municipal corporations. So every time you try to smuggle (i.e. transport) some 'good looking things' across the border you are supposed to pay octroi. The 'good looking things' is a generic term for new furniture, electronic/electrical appliances etc.

Few days ago, with the help of a relative I bought some electrical appliances (ceiling fans) from CME (College of Military Engineering) canteen. Those were packed in a bag rested on back seat of my bike. I was coming towards Shivajinagar unaware of existence of any octroi booth on the border. At some signal near Khadki station, a man appeared out of nowhere and asked me to take my bike on the road side. I had no clue what was going on.

He: "What's in the bag?"
I: "Some luggage"
He: "What luggage?"
I: "Ceiling fans"
He: "Open the bag"

I still had no clue. I though it was a routine security check inspired by bulgy look of my bag. I opened the bag and let him have a glimpse.

He: "Did you pay the octroi?"

A loud bell rang. I don't have a clear understanding of the rules related to octroi. Even if I had I didn't know there was an octroi booth.
I reverted with totally unrelated answer.

I: "I bought them from CME" (with a look on face asking 'what did I do wrong')
He: "Do you have receipts"

I produced the receipt. He verified that what I was saying was true.
He: "You can go"
Without a word I closed the bag, put the receipt in my pocket.
He: "Do you work in CME?"
I: "No, my brother"

It is observed that civil administration personals try not to interfere in matters where defense personals are involved.
He didn't bother to ask me my name or my brother's name. I didn't stop to give him another chance. :-)