Dimapur, Sep. 15 (EMN): The Nagaland Voluntary Consumer Organisation (NVCO) and the Kohima District Truck Owners and Drivers’ Union stand with the Naga Council of Dimapur in the council’s fight against extortion, or “illegal collection.”
The NVCO issued a press release to the media on Sunday demanding that the authorities act against the extortion activities.
‘NVCO and Kohima District Truck Owners and Drivers’ Union extends its full support to the public action committee(PAC) of Naga Council Dimapur in their fight against illegal collection of cash at the check-gates and on highways on 16th Sept, 2019 which is solely for the welfare of all consumers in the state of Nagaland,’ the press release stated.
The NVCO and the transport organisation are said to have discussed the issue of ‘illegal collections of cash’ at check-gates and along the highways considering it to be the main cause of price-rise in all essential and non-essential commodities in the state capital Kohima. The two group had a meeting that was conducted on September 13 in Kohima.
The two organisations have ‘resolved to extend its full support and sincere appreciation to the PAC,’ the updates stated.
The press release mentioned that the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court had dismissed writ petitions by various organisations in its common judgement and order in 2014.
‘By this common judgement and order the honourable court consequently dismissed all the writ petitions filed by the several unions/associations/federations as these proceedings initiated by them are found to without any merit…’ the NVCO stated.
’Nagaland is a state mushrooming with illegal collections of cash by police/unions/ associations/federations/police/public organizations/government departments at the check gates and on highways which contribute to price-rise in the state and Dimapur, the so called commercial hub of the state is considered to be the most affected place.’
According to the press release, trucks coming from outside refuse to enter Nagaland because of the extortion activities and ‘forcible collection of “taxes” at various-gates lying on national/state highways.
There are numerous collection points at every conceivable corner in Dimapur including the authorized and unauthorized DMC (Dimapur Municipal Council) toll tax counters where truck drivers are stopped and compelled to pay some amount of money, the press release stated.
All these factors have only added to the cost of various items and the biggest loser of all is the end user, the poor and helpless consumer, the NVCO stated.
The organisation mentioned that the NVCO had submitted representations to all the deputy commissioners to stop the ‘illegal collections of cash’ by Nagaland police, and by community and public organisations besides govt. departments themselves at the check-gates and along highways.
‘Passing orders is easier than enforcing it. There were incidences and certain exercises, lifting up check gates , issuing several orders, calling Chakka jam, bandh and even to the extent of dismantling several check-gates in Kohima district did not seem to act as a remedy.’
Tax collections including ‘collection of cash’ by Nagaland police at check gates, exorbitant ‘toll taxes’ collected by municipal and town councils in all the districts and several organization including government agencies collecting cash along highways continue with impunity throughout the state, the NVCO stated.
‘Earlier the district administration recorded more than 55 nongovernmental organisations operating in Dimapur and the same menace is practice in all the districts in Nagaland especially check-gates maintained by Nagaland police and the worse places are the state bordering gates.’
The NVCO gave an example: ‘Just within a range of 20-25 km the area from the Khuzama police check-gate to the Kohima bye-pass police check-gate on national highway-29 has more than seven pay-counters.
The press release stated that they include pay-counters “initiated by Manipur vehicle/truck/oil tankers owners/drivers, public organization at Phesama check-gate, KMC toll tax collection counter of which the tax-payers are never provided with any services etc.”
The NVCO denounced the unabated “taxation” and “illegal collection of cash” and the “deduction of percentage” by way of commission from public funds/contractor bill such as in the name of ‘party fund’ and toll tax collection without providing any services to the taxpayers.
Further, it stated, the ‘illegal dealership’ and syndicate system, yearly tax on property, machineries, and vehicles; fundraising by way of asking for donations or forcibly selling lottery tickets, newspapers, and calendars, among others, are extortion.
‘The check-gate posting considered to be lucrative by the Nagaland police has to be dismantled. In fact, with the Goods and Services Tax regime, which was also implemented without peoples’ consultation in the state, has already covered all taxes. It is the sole duty of the state government to maintain law and order for the security and safety of its citizens,’ the NVCO added.