ACAUT plea to Gov on illegal collections and syndicates

DIMAPUR, SEP 15 (NPN) | Publish Date: 9/15/2020 12:47:14 PM IST

ACAUT Nagaland has alleged that indirect illegal and unabated taxation were going on even as the district administration has turned a Nelson’s eye to the malpractice.

This was contained in an open letter addressed to state Governor R.N.Ravi by ACAUT chairman Tia Longchar, co-chairman Simon Kelio and secretary Hetoi Chishi. In the letter, ACAUT said unscrupulous persons in transport unions were hand in glove with some members of various Naga political groups through their latest modus operandi in order to continue their hold on illegal and unabated taxation. 

ACAUT said it has been observing that orders and diktats were issued by these groups, to ensure that only certain selected transporters could carry particular goods and items at rates that were far above prescribed rates. ACAUT said those not complying with such impositions were harassed with summons and end up paying heavy fines. 

ACAUT said due to such monopoly transport syndicates, business houses and shopkeepers were compelled to pay unjustified transportation charges. This has only resulted in upward spiral of prices of essential commodities causing tremendous suffering on the general public, said ACAUT. 

Further, ACAUT said even after incoming transport carriers produced GST receipts, they were still subjected to illegal taxes. It termed as “shameful” that various unions and associations from Assam had even reprimanded and warned the Government of Nagaland to rein in illegal taxes being collected by its own law enforcing agencies including underground outfits at designated points and gates.

ACAUT said it was one thing for the district administrations to issue orders for punitive action on overloaded goods vehicles, but another thing when it could not ensure security and rooting out the menace of illegal taxation on the highways. This contradiction was like placing the cart before the horse, it added. 

Referring to the COVID cess on petrol and diesel, ACAUT said common people understood that they had to bear the burden for emergency expenses, but continuing with the cess in spite of receiving grants to the tune of hundreds of crore rupees from the Centre has left people fuming. 

ACAUT said as half of Nagaland’s population were below the poverty line, people were left with no option but to use public transport but the inflated fares burn their pockets every day. It also said the effect of the fuel cess was pushing up prices of essential commodities beyond control in interior and far-flung areas of the State. However, despite hike in prices fuel, sale of adulterated fuel and reports of fuel pilferage still persist, it added.

ACAUT said the need of the hour was to revamp of the system of governance, especially with livelihood policy to generate entrepreneurial activities or else the state would be headed towards “social upheaval and unrest”. 

It also reminded that there are more than 30,000 returnees in the state, now jobless, and whose means of survival were at stake. Thus, securing transport and logistic services has become crucial, it said.

ACAUT said the syndicates which have monopolised consumer items cause practical obstacles and are a big deterrent for any entrepreneur. Monopoly syndicates operated by such elements remove a competitive market and an open trade system for market dynamics to operate. In this regard, ACAUT expressed fear that Nagaland would soon be the only economically-backward State in the Northeast while the Act East policy was being implemented. 

ACAUT has urged upon the Governor to act against anti-socials indulging in syndicates for monopolistic interest by putting them behind bars and treated at par with terrorists.

It also demanded implementation of the recommendations of High Powered Commission report submitted to the State government in 2016 so as to deliver justice and semblance of rule of law in the land. ACAUT asserted that it would not allow anybody, however powerful and rich , to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare anymore.

ACAUT reminded the Governor of his call for “investment-friendly eco-system” during his Independence Day message which should be created as vested interests had “misappropriated the dividends of peace”.



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