Extortion: Dimapur, Kohima administrators told to wake up
‘Passing orders is easy’ says NVCO
Dimapur, February 19
The district administrators of Dimapur and Kohima have been asked by a consumers’ organization “to react” against the often-raised issue of ‘illegal taxes’ being exacted at check-gates and highways. Issuing orders is “easy”, a local organization reminded the authorities and have sought actual action instead of words.
The media is regularly swamped by complaints and appeals from various sections of the state community against the illegal taxation which continues unchecked. However, there has yet to be any resolute action from the authorities.
The Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organization (NVCO) issued yet another statement on Thursday calling for resolute administrative and police action against the extortion activities. Police check-gates, municipal councils and personnel of the Narcotics cell, Excise department and village organizations as well as drivers’ unions, the Traffic police and “bus union” continue to collect money ranging from Rs.30 to Rs.500, the organization reminded the authorities.
“The Rs.100 was shown against each police check-gate and the highest was the Rs.500, each against Traffic police Dimapur parking tax collection and Bus Union Dimapur,” the NVCO explained.
Earlier, the Gauhati High Court had dismissed a petition from a plethora of organizations in the state who had appealed against the state’s order to curb ‘collection of cash in any form.’
The NVCO has made clear that the agencies, and organizations were not functioning for the purpose they came into being but to extort money not only from the members but from the public in general, and drivers and owners of commercial vehicles, in particular.
These extortion activities are causing enormous difficulties not only to commuters but problems to the administration as well. The NVCO explained in one good length: “Worse still, their activities grow to such extent when public in general and people connected with transport industry in particular got annoyed and exasperated so much so that they could no longer remain the mute spectator and suffers in silence to what have been going on over a long period of time in their state and in their cities and towns which is evident from the facts they now started complaining to the administration about the illegal activities of the goons and hooligans on the roads.”
The NVCO also repeated its oft-stated fact that the extortion activities engaged by the myriad of organizations are contributing to price-rise in the state, particularly Dimapur, the most affected city in Nagaland.
“Many trucks coming from outside refused to enter Nagaland because of the forcible collection of ‘taxes’ at various-gates lying on national/state highways and there are numerous collection points at every conceivable corner in Dimapur including DMC toll tax counters where truck drivers are stopped and compelled to pay some amount. All these 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 consumers’ organization stated.
“Passing orders is easier than enforcing it but when the enforcing agency is not doing on its part then it fails to achieve the so called good governance on the part of authority. One of the major factor which fails to achieve good governance here is the enforcing agency itself is part of taking illegal cash i.e., Nagaland police at the check-gate,” the NVCO stated.
“Who would be responsible to execute the state government order dated 22.06.2009 in banning collection cash in the check-gates or in any part of the highways including government departments such as Police, Excise, Forest and Taxes department etc., individual and organizations?”
The NVCO has appealed to the deputy commissioners of Dimapur and Kohima “to react” to the prolonged and unchecked criminal activity as well as implement the government orders and that of the Gauhati High Court.