Pay heed to public voice, PAC tells Nagaland government
Dimapur, Feb. 19 (EMN): The Public Action Committee (PAC) of Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) has raised several questions and contentions for the state government to ponder on and take action after the “leasees” stayed the cancellation order issued by the principal secretary, through a writ petition filed in the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench earlier this month.
In a letter addressed to the chief secretary of Nagaland, the PAC asked under what act and provision the Municipal Affairs is authorised to collect toll and utility fees; why double tax business people in the state when it has been abolished after the introduction of GST; and why Forest and Geology, and Mining departments impose royalty on minor minerals coming from Assam.
The committee has asserted that if the state government wants to levy fees and royalty, it should be done digitally to avoid corruption, and that the “redundant” Nagaland Municipal Act 2010 should be amended.
The PAC pointed out several flaws of “lease system” for collection of tax at toll gates, stating that it encourages “thugs to collect fees” and illegal collection as leasees re-lease to third parties who can employ anybody, leading to inflated fees, and that collection booths have become information and identification points for anti-social elements. It went on to state that lease system encourages syndication and monopoly, and that it lacks accountability.
“If after legislation it is legally entitled to lease, it should be made public for all interested party to participate. Lastly, state government have appointed 300+ DMC employees without any job. Is Municipal Affairs applying lease system as an arrangement to pay salaries to these questionable employees?” read the letter, adding that the department has no right to collect money at the expense of the public to pay employees.
It went on to express its confidence that the state government would pay heed to the voices of the public “instead of succumbing to few vested interest people who are ready to ruthlessly throttle and suffocate the common man”.