Dimapur, September 15 (MExN): Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) Nagaland has written an ‘open letter’ to the Governor of Nagaland, seeking intervention into an alleged racket between ‘unscrupulous persons in transport unions’ and ‘some members of various Naga Political Groups’ to continue their hold on illegal and unabated taxation through their latest ‘modus operandi.’
In the letter which was received here on Tuesday, ACAUT alleged that under the new modus operandi, various orders and diktats have been issued to ensure that only certain identified transporters are able to carry particular goods and items at their prescribed rates which are higher than the usual rates
“The transporters not complying with such imposition are harassed with summons and ends up paying heavy fines.
Business houses and shopkeepers are compelled to shell out unjustified transportation fare due to the existence of such syndicates and monopolies,” the letter stated.
This ‘ploy of indirect illegal and unabated taxation,’ it said, has resulted in shooting up of prices in essential commodities and ultimately it is the general public that suffers the most as the District Administration “has turned a Nelson's eye to such malpractices.”
ACAUT also pointed out that it is “shameful to have various unions and associations from Assam to reprimand and warn the Government of Nagaland to reign in illegal taxes being collected by its own law enforcing agencies and underground outfits at designated points and gates in spite of the GST receipts being produced.”
It also criticized the District Administration’s recent order for ‘punitive action on overloaded goods vehicles’ and said that such an order without ensuring security and rooting out the menace of illegal tax in the highway was like ‘placing the cart before the horse.’
Further, ACAUT pointed out that the fuel cess tax imposed during lockdown has had cascading effects on the inflated public transportation fares and price of essential commodities that has spiraled out of control especially in the interior villages and far-flung areas of Nagaland. It claimed that continuing the cess, “in spite of grants from the Centre in terms of hundreds of crores has let the public fuming.”
“A total revamp in the system of governance especially with livelihood policy for generating entrepreneurial activities is the need of the hour or else we are heading for social upheaval and unrest,” the letter continued.
It said that securing transport and logistics services has become an outmost priority in order to secure the survival of thousands of returnees ‘who are now jobless.’ The syndicates that have monopolized on every consumer's items causes practical obstacles and serve as a big deterrent for any entrepreneurs which will result in "miscarriage of dreams and expectations," the letter added.
Without a competitive market and an open trade system for market dynamics to operate, ACAUT opined that the state “will soon be the only state that is economically backward among the North East states with the Act East policy being implemented.”
Stating that anti-socials indulging in syndicates for monopolistic interest should be put behind bars and should be treated at par with a terrorist, it suggested that the “recommendations of the High Powered Commission report submitted in 2016 to the Government of Nagaland be implemented at the earliest for justice and for semblance of rule of law in the land.”
“As stated by you (Governor) in the Independence Day's message the ‘investment-friendly eco-system’ has to be created as vested interests has ‘misappropriated the dividends of peace,’” the letter stated.