Editorial

Govt should act

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/13/2021 12:25:39 PM IST

 It has been over a decade since various civil society groups and NGOs had demanded an end to the collection raj in Dimapur by all and sundry including both legitimate and non-legitimate authorities but the state government has done precious little. Too many organisations and self-styled parallel authorities collecting money under the guise of taxes in Dimapur has totally destroyed the foundations of economic progress. Ultimately, the biggest loser of the collection syndrome are the common people. The compulsion under force or threat is what makes these collections the most oppressive and destructive syndrome which negates every aspect of progress. The problem of tax collections in Dimapur is legendary as till today, no legally constituted government authority has eradicated this terrible menace that has become the most thriving cottage industry of the state. Since the early part of 2012 ACAUT had taken the lead in organising public rallies against blatant collections in the name of taxes. Public want an end to collection raj in Dimapur but some government agencies as well as “authorised agencies” reassert that their collections are perfectly legitimate for toll tax, forest royalty or inspection of animal health(veterinary). However, it is not as simple as being explained. In the early part of 2012 the civil society organisations under the aegis of ACAUTorganised a series of public rallies against all forms of tax collections- check gates, transport, godown, shops etc where the same item is taxes multiple times. Under the lease system, those who are appointed to collect DMC taxes, pay a fixed amount quoted every month. Even the Public Action Committee(PAC) now under the aegis of apex tribes of Dimapur, has demanded that the lease system be revoked. The lease system was revoked for a few months due to the public outrage but it has been re-introduced. Recently, four Dimapur-based civil society organisations have reminded the state government’s urban and municipality affairs department of earlier representations demanding revocation of the lease system under Dimapur Municipal Council(DMC). The CSOs said that Dimapur had witnessed visible development and facelift and overall improvement when collection of toll tax was done by the DMC establishment itself. However, they said that after the lease system was reintroduced, things have worsened. The PAC had also found that the lease system introduced by municipal affairs department was one of the main factors that encouraged illegal collection of money at the check gates and inside the city. PAC said its objection to the lessee system was based on facts in the past, that the appointed lessee in turn sub-lets tax collection to a lessor. Again, it was maintained that the second lessor sub-lets to the third lessor. As per the information from PAC, the leasing of DMC tax collection to lessees has meant unauthorised hikes over fixed rates. PAC has pointed out that for instance, if the prescribed tax for a particular item was Rs.60 per unit, the actual collection by multiple lessees turned out to be multiple times such as Rs.600 or so but the receipt issued is only for Rs.60. Dimapur is the trade and commerce centre as well as the gateway of Nagaland. There is a PIL pending with the high court over unabated taxation in Dimapur and the state government should realise that enough is enough and economic prosperity cannot be achieved by construction of roads or buildings but ensuring that the hurdles to development are removed for economic prosperity for all. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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