Illegal tax collectors thwart PAC drive

Illegal tax collectors thwart PAC drive
Staff Reporters DIMAPUR, Sep 17 (NPN) | Publish Date: 9/17/2019 10:54:28 AM IST

A positive impact of the Public Action Committee’s (PAC) drive against illegal collections at various check gates on the first day Monday was the drastic drop in prices of some commodities such as potato which came down from Rs.20 per kg to around Rs.8 and Rs.10 per kg. More volunteers turned up to extend cooperation with PAC’s “Operation Check Gate” on Tuesday.

 PAC functionaries expressed optimism that the continued efforts would result in reduction of prices of many other items such as MS rods, cement and granite and construction materials in the coming days. 

On Tuesday, there were much less trucks since it being “Vishwakarma Puja” in comparison with the first day.  However collectors of some departments were still collecting “royalty tax” over and above the prescribed fee.  At Dilai gate, DMC toll collectors, who were supposed to collect Rs. 350 per truck, Rs. 50 for toll and urban utility fees and Rs. 300 for toll and urban utility fees on goods entry, were collecting Rs. 1850 to Rs. 2050, as per truck. DMC Superintendent, Ganesh Sharma, who was present at the site maintained that DMC has issued strict and clear instructions to collectors and lease contractors to collect only the prescribed rates as approved by the government. 

He however added that DMC was in no way involved in the racket for the high rates charged by the lease contractors. Sharma reiterated that any lease contractors involved in overtaxing would face legal action for violation of the contract. This Reporter was told that the DMC lease contractors( DMC fee collectors) charge extra amount in a daily market just some yards beyond Naglaand gate (in Karbi Anglong) without issuing any challan receipt at the counter. 

 PAC lodged FIR at west Police Station, complaining of higher rates being collected over and above rate fixed by DMC for its lease contractors. 

PAC identified those involved as - Sanjay, r/o Burma Camp; Arup, r/o, Rail Colony; Inoto, r/o, Sematilla; Okito, r/o, Burma Camp and Hokoho, r/o, Sematilla. 

Recently posted DMC Administrator Albert Ezung, who was also present at the site, said he was unaware about any extra fee being charged by the DMC leases as he was yet to receive any formal complaint. 

Ezung however maintained that the system of tax collection of DMC was transparent by mentioning that the DMC toll tax signboard, displaying various types and amounts of tax, were put up for public notice which the drivers were to pay accordingly. He maintained that this was the system that was supposed to be followed. 

On the PAC’s FIR lodged against the DMC leasees, he said the matter was now out of his hand and that competent authority would handle it accordingly.  Vice president, NCD and co convenor, PAC, K. Ghokheto Chophy, warned volunteers that none of them had the authority to shut down or stop departments from collecting ‘royalty/tax’. He said the volunteers were only to top illegal collection of extra money and not to shut down any office.  Chophy however reminded that if departments were collecting extra amount, evidence were to be kept and FIR to be lodged. 

Second day of PAC’s “operation check gate” passed off peacefully without any untoward incidents till the time of filing this report. 

PAC press briefing

On the second day of the week-long ‘Operation Check Gate’ spearheaded by Public Action Committee (PAC) of Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) Tuesday against unauthorised and illegal tax collections, the efforts were hampered due to factors that had not been foreseen. This became evident during the media briefing held by PAC when its Convenor Vekhosayi Nyekha admitted that the ‘tax collectors’ had devised a way by which check points were established along roads within Dimapur in order to avoid check gates manned by PAC volunteers.
Further, he disclosed that while the PAC volunteers with police manned the check gates from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. police permitted commercial vehicles to enter Dimapur before 5 a.m. Then later when PAC volunteers began vigil from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the commercial vehicles were allowed entry after 10 p.m. Nyekha also informed that PAC has been receiving tremendous support and contributions even from other districts. 
He urged public to participate in the efforts so that it could become a mass movement against illegal taxation. Nyekha also sought public cooperation to voluntarily report to PAC on any illegal taxation being carried out even if they feared to report to police.
The PAC Convenor reiterated that the drive was not only against some government departments collecting fee much beyond the stipulated amount but also against those groups, associations etc who made illegal collection as their sole objective.
He also pointed out that government departments like Geology & Mining including Forest ought to refrain from collecting taxes from trucks carrying various minerals as royalty since all the items imported from other states were also taxed under GST. He said PAC has already submitted a representation with DC Dimapur to urge the government to withhold such royalty collections.
 PAC meeting with Hohos
Meanwhile, PAC has convened a meeting with all tribal hohos and frontal organisations in Dimapur on September 18 at 9 am at Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) office, Dimapur. All members have been asked to attend the meeting without fail. 

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