In a significant step to check the menace of illegal taxation and extortion and against the backdrop of the economic blockade on Nagaland by the striking truck unions, the state government has abolished all forms of tax collections at check gates along highways throughout the state by any organization or individual including government departments such as police, excise, forest and taxes departments etc.
A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting held under the chairmanship of chief minister and attended by the home minister, chief secretary and DGP at the CM’s office, Monday. Chief secretary, Lalthara through an order informed that the meeting discussed various complaints received from organizations and individuals about collection of taxes at various check gates along the highways in Nagaland. The order stated that the authorized government departments could inspect the contents of goods vehicles or any other vehicles for necessary enforcement of the laws of the land or that the vehicles or the goods being carried or the documents could also be seized after issuing proper seizure memo, if necessary.
It however said that no collection of cash would be allowed at the check gates or in any part of the highway henceforth. Home Minister Imkong L. Imchen directed all those departments authorized to collect taxes to do so only through treasury challan and not cash and further warned that violators would be arrested and prosecuted under relevant sections of the law.
“ All the law enforcing departments are expected to comply with this directive so as to avoid prosecution against them,” Imchen said.
The home minister advised the people to ask receipts from police or such check gates after depositing requisite cash through Treasury Challan.
Imchen revealed that instructions have been given to various DCs and SPs to ban all illegal organizations and dismantle illegal check gates across the state. He also appealed all NGOs and individuals to come out openly against the menace of extortion prevailing in the state.
Truckers’ union assures to call off strike
Meanwhile, the truckers have assured a team of officials led by ADC, Dimapur, Sedivikho Khro and Addl SP V Z Angami to consider the request to lift the chakka jam at a meeting with Bokajan Truck Owners Association in the office of SDO (Civil), Bokajan on Monday. SDPO (N) Khalo, OC, West PS, EAC, Bokajan, and Circle Inspector Bokajan also attended the meeting.
Speaking to media persons at meeting, former Chairman, Bokajan Town Council clarified that the strike was not an economic blockade but a chakka jam called by all Assam truck owners, drivers and handymen and not specifically on Dimapur but for entire Nagaland. Terming the collection of taxes upon entering Nagaland as “blatant extortion”, he alleged that each truck had to pay Rs 5000 as yearly tax to various underground groups in Nagaland including some outfits of Manipur. He also allaged that each truck was forced to pay Rs 550 to Dimapur Municipal Committee (DMC) on entering Dimapur and thereafter, a seperate parking tax of the same amount to the DMC . He also alleged that the truckers were even threatened at the DMC counter in the name of UPDS, a militant group Assam, on refusal to pay.
The union drivers complained that many drivers were beaten up or abducted by the miscreants. They also accused police at the gate of not doing anything to check such incidents. Pointing out that only a few vested elements were involved in these acts, the union leaders requested the police and administration of Dimapur to clean up the area.
Assuring the truckers of security to their destinations, ADC Dimapur, Sedivikho Khro requested the union leaders to release all the stranded trucks and call off the indefinite strike. Addl SP Dimapur V Z Angami also promised security and strict action against those collecting tax in the name various organizations. In response the unions promised to look into the matter to release stranded trucks at the earliest after discussion with other union leaders in Guwahati.
It was also pointed out that various non-existent organizations such as Empty Bottles Dealers Association, Biscuit/ Bhujia & Chips Carrying Association, Mobile Network Connection were also collecting taxes from the trucks entering Nagaland.