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Debating Extortion: ACAUT casts more doubts on DTO’s reply

By EMN Updated: Jul 26, 2013 8:01 pm

Dimapur, July 26

Dimapur-based anti-extortion platform, the Action Committee against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT), has challenged the claims of the local transport authorities that taxes being collected by the latter from truckers are legal. The ACAUT issued a press release today raising more questions and casting thicker doubts on claims of the District Transport Officer’s (DTO) The DTO had claimed on July 25 that the department was imposing “compounding fees” only on “defaulter” trucks and for “offence” committed by them. The ACAUT has demanded clarification as to why all the trucks are being taxed if only the “defaulters” who ‘violated’ norms were liable.
The committee expressed suspicion that “compounding fees” were being exacted through receipts that had “Taxation Class” designated on them.
The committee also noted the claims of the Transport department that it received an annual revenue of “hardly 18 lakhs from the gates and checking” on the roads.
But the question raised is whether all the goods-laden trucks entering Nagaland which is approximately 100 trucks per day and being charged a minimum of Rs 500 per truck then the revenue per year should be amounting to approximately 1, 82, 50, 000,” the ACAUT said in its press release.
The committee said investigations by its fact finding committee have revealed that the fee is being charged from all “laden” trucks without “challans” being issued to the drivers and only a few of the hundred trucks receive the receipts -“after giving only few challan to trucks.”-ACAUT.
The fees are called “compounding fees” but on the receipt it is market “taxation class,” the ACAUT noted. “Since all the trucks (as per drivers’ statements) entering Nagaland pays approximately ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1, 500, are they all defaulters? Where is all the money , collected from the trucks without issuing challans by enforcement personnel?” the committee asked the DTO.
The anti-extortion committee queried further whether the Motor Vehicles Act empowering the department to impose “compounding fees”, also empower inspectors to randomly collect money without issuing official receipts. ‘This trend has been in practice since many years back. It is a well-known fact by all,” the platform said.

This duel of words being played in public domain follows the tabling last week of a report by ACAUT detailing the collection of “illegal taxes” by various groups and parties. What is key to remember is that the debate has been “birthed” after an accumulation of decades of silence and searching for a way out of the labyrinth that this unchecked “evil” has clamped on the Naga society.
Extortion from pharmacists and druggists
The ACAUT also sought to inform the public that even the medical dealers and pharmacists have to pay so-called taxes amounting from Rs. 30, 000 to Rs. 50, 000 to the underground groups who collect money in the name of “nationalism.” Organizations such as the Nagaland Medical Dealers’ Association are “well versed” in this problem called “taxation,” the committee remarked.

The committee has made clear that the movement against extortion should not be “personalized” or ‘particularize’ any organization. “ACAUT is trying its best to crack down this menace in the interest of the general public for the betterment of the coming generation. Yes it may hurt someone but it is for the remedial measure to instill peace through economic development for the people of Nagaland,” the committee said.

By EMN Updated: Jul 26, 2013 8:01:45 pm