Unabated taxation forcing business centres out of Nagaland, says DCCI
Dimapur, March 13 (EMN): The business community in Dimapur has expressed serious concern over the shrinking economic activities in the state as well as relocation of business centres to neighbouring areas, which they claimed is due to unabated taxation from both the government and the Naga political groups (NPGs).
The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) stated through a press release on Saturday that “business scenario in Nagaland has hit its lowest ebb” and would reach the “point of no return” if immediate corrective measures are not taken.
Shift of business centres, routes
The union lamented that many business centres have shifted to the bordering towns in Assam to evade heavy taxation and such areas are becoming feeder towns while business volume in Nagaland’s commercial hub shrinks.
Many Manipur-bound businesses, which were earlier based in Dimapur, too have shifted their base to Silchar in Assam and started taking Jaribam National Highway, consequently hitting the chain support business such as hotels, transport, way side dhabas etc. hard, it added.
To avoid high taxation, it said, ‘most of the dealers dealing with GST items have shifted to nearby Assam towns and paying GST/SGST to the state while feeding Nagaland though smaller vehicles’, thereby ‘steadily losing its revenue’.
“It may be mentioned that many cement dealers/company train wagons which used to be offloaded at Dimapur Railway Station have now shifted to Bokajan Railway Station which are then transported to Nagaland in part and partial.
“Similarly, many hardware, vehicular parts and other consumable godowns and distributors are now shifted to Khatkhati and Lahorijan feeding the stated though these towns. As of today, more godowns, transport and distributers, agencies are operating in these neighbouring town than those operating in Dimapur,” read the press release.
Citing this trend, the DCCI has requested “the state government to wake up at this alarming development and create conducive business environment in Dimapur, save revenue losses and try to regain the market lost to the other neighbouring states”.
It also asked the district administration and police to stop raiding of shops and godowns by unauthorised individuals and organisations, which is causing undue harassment to the business community.
Up to 75% dip in business volume
The DCCI went on to state that business volume of Nagaland has shrunk by almost 60-75%.
“It may be noted that the monthly train wagon destined to Dimapur railway station in few years back from 120 wagons at its peak has come down miserably to 20 wagons per month,” the press release read, adding that trucks entering Nagaland destined for the state and onward to Manipur too have decreased drastically.
The trade union pointed out that high rate of taxation from the state government via Municipal and town council taxes in the form of toll and item tax by undermining the GST Act, is affecting the business community badly, even as ‘illegal collection at various check gates and post by police add salt to the injury’.
Stating that “the business community in Nagaland shell out almost 50-75% of their profit margin in paying taxes to NPGs on average”, it said they should “understand that one of the main reason of our economy and business failing in Nagaland is due to their over taxation” and that killing trade will affect everyone.
The union asked how business will survive in Nagaland under such environment, while it is impossible as well as an offence to sell products above the MRP with GST regime in place and the consumers highly aware of their rights.
Hinting at the possibility of contractors levying “tax mindlessly” by taking undue advantage of subletting taxation through yearly contract, the DCCI asked if NPGs are aware of taxes levied at the ground level. It also appealed to the groups to be realistic and “take corrective measure at the earliest”, while reminding that they have “always stood for early political settlement and will continue to do so”.