PAC checks illegal gate collections

PAC checks illegal gate collections
Volunteers querying about tax form a truck driver at Dillai gate on Monday. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, SEP 16 (NPN) | Publish Date: 9/16/2019 11:00:11 AM IST

Monday’s ‘Operation Check Gate’ launched by the Public Action Committee (PAC) through deployment of scores of volunteers from various tribe affiliates of Naga Council Dimapur, revealed that collectors having got wind of the much publicised launch, preferred to lie low and to return another day. 

The volunteers had spread out to three main check gates- New Field Check Gate, Dillai Gate and Burma Camp Check gate from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. The second phase was from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The drive will continue for a week and could be extended said PAC. A telling effect of the PAC operation was that the price of potato which used to be sold at Rs.20 per kg in the market came crashing down to Rs.8 to Rs 10 per kg. It was reported that the same was the case with tomato whose prices had significantly come down. 

At New Field volunteers came across an underage boy collecting tax on head count of live animals supposed to be done by a veterinarian assistant. Several mini trucks laden with poultry also passed by without the mandatory health check. It appeared that the veterinary department had outsourced collections to some group whether on auction or proxy for some staff. 

It was also found that DMC collectors who were supposed to charge Rs.10 per tract (compartment level) carrying chickens over charged. A mini-pick up has seven tracts and the total fee was supposed to be Rs.7x 10= Rs.70 per truck but the DMC collector(s) charged Rs.850 per truck.

This was despite DMC having put up signboards displaying rates to be levied. The driver of one pick up truck disclosed that he used to pay Rs.1000 per truck daily to a certain group, while crossing the check gate but he was issued with a challan showing only Rs.10. According to the driver, he used to pay Rs.1800 to the collectors of Veterinary department,Rs.850 to DMC, Rs.100 to police and around Rs.1000 to some group. He also said there were other groups to whom he had to also pay tax.

Another lorry driver of a 14-wheeler from Guwahati also disclosed that he used to pay Rs.4500 to collectors but did not get challan receipt.

One truck driver who claimed he had paid some money to unidentified persons was whisked away by a local who claimed to be a driver also, when this Reporter wanted to get more details. Government departments such as Geology & Mining and Forest were also in the fray in collecting taxes from various trucks. Both the government departments have issued permits for tax collection under their respective rules. However, as pointed out by ACAUT convenor Tia Longchar, the departments levied tax on granite and marbles from Rajasthan on which the buyer(s) had paid GST. Geology and Mining charged different rates as ‘royalty’ for various items such as sandstone, limestone, marble, granite, chips etc.

In addition, the Forest department also collects its own ‘royalty’ tax on similar items from every truck passing through check gates. One questionable aspect is that the amount mentioned in the challans were not reflective of the actual amount collected. Later briefing media persons at NCD office PAC Convenor Vekhosayi Nyekha pointed out that illegal collections were not only confined to the check gates but that those involved have set up mobile check posts at various roads.

He revealed that even those authorised to collect fee/tax like DMC illegally overcharged by 50% to 100%. Nyekha also disclosed that PAC was to file FIR against the veterinary department for not maintaining a proper quarantine check post where animals were to be kept for inspection. 

However, the complaint was withheld after the department assured it would do the needful.

He also disclosed that the Geology & Mining department charged Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 per tone of granite and marble by ignoring GST rules. He said PAC will henceforth stop such illegal practices.

The check gate at Burma Camp saw little action as police manning it allowed vehicles to pass before PAC volunteers arrived. At Dillai check gate there was not much traffic since many trucks had stayed off roads. 

At Chümoukedima check gate, Chakhro Public Organisation (CPO) decided to conduct check at a later date.


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