Nagaland: 12-hour closure of business activities ends peacefully
Dimapur/Kohima/Mokokchung, Sep. 16 (EMN): The state-wide total shutdown of shops and business establishments called by Nagaland trade bodies to protest multiple taxation by Naga political groups and government agencies passed off peacefully without untoward incidents on Thursday.
The Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI) along with Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) had imposed a 12-hour closure of business activities across Nagaland from 6 am to 6 pm on Thursday despite state government’s request to reconsider their plan, while assuring to address their issues.
The shutters of business establishments were down and goods transport vehicles remained off the roads in all major cities like Dimapur, Kohima, Mokokchung, Wokha, Tuensang, Phek and others, as well as well smaller towns during the bandh period.
Streets in the state capital wore a deserted look on Thursday as all business establishments downed their shutters, joining the protest called by the CNCCI.
Shops located in the colonies and pharmacies in and around the streets also remained shut. Traffic flow was unusually smooth as there was lesser vehicular movement.
A woman who looks after a store in Kohima shared that they had been paying ‘taxes’ to five or six groups.
“We are hardly recovering and so we cannot give whatever amount they demand. We have to pay them with whatever we have; we can’t do anything. How much profit can be made from a private business?” she asked.
“When we can’t pay them on time, they tell us to keep the money ready as they will come back to the store next time,” she informed.
The woman also expressed concern over private enterprises not flourishing in Nagaland due to multiple taxation.
She stated that youths who want to venture into business were disheartened even before setting up (their business) because of taxations.
“Despite the alarming unemployment situation, there are some few youths who really want to work hard and develop, but they do not do so because they are pressured with so many problems,” she reiterated.
Kaihrü Henry Chisüte, Secretary Information and Publicity of Kohima Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), speaking to this newspaper said that the general public is at the receiving end of multiple taxation.
He informed how traders, who otherwise do not have the intention to sell their commodities at an inflated rate, were compelled to resort to such ways because they had to pay huge amount of tax to different NPGs and government agencies.
However, he stated that it is the consumers who suffer at the end of the day as they buy their needs at an exorbitant rate with no choice.
Chisüte informed how traders have been paying tax to as many as 11 NPGs besides multiple government agencies like the police, municipal councils or Forest department even after paying GST on various goods.
He also reiterated the charter of demands put forward by CNCCI and informed that KCCI officials had inspected the closure during the early part of the day in Kohima.
Slow traffic-prone areas in Dimapur looked empty on Thursday as most citizens remained indoors owing to closure of shops and stores.
Private and passenger vehicles were seen plying but goods transport vehicles remained off the national highway in the state’s commercial hub, the epicentre of the state-wide bandh.
In Mokokchung town toom all shops and business establishments remained closed from 6 am to 6 pm.
Meanwhile, the Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) in a statement expressed their sincere gratitude to all the citizens of Mokokchung for their co-operation and understanding the plight of the business community.
“The people of Mokokchung are intelligent enough to understand that the brunt of unabated and illegitimate taxation or extortion by underground factions forcibly collected from the business community are ultimately being borne by the citizens, the general public,” MCCI stated.
It added that, “it is common knowledge that money extorted from the traders is money extorted from the public. Further, proliferation of extortion and illegitimate taxation in the market will lead to all forms of illegal and unethical business practices where the general public will, again, bear the brunt.”
Extending its support the demands of CNCCI, it appealed to the government of Nagaland to meet the demands without any further delay.
Phek and Wokha
The Phek Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) also imposed one-day business closure in the disin solidarity with DCCI and in pursuance to CNCCI representation to the chief secretary of the state.
DPRO Wokha also informed that business establishments down their shutters in Wokha during the protest hours and passed off peacefully.
General law and order situation was normal, and no untoward incident was reported or received from any part of the district, it stated.