Dimapur, April 30: The Naga People’s Front has expressed shock at the decision of the PDA Government to levy ‘COVID-19 cess’ at the rate of Rs 5 on diesel per litre and Rs 6 on petrol per litre and other motor spirits at a time when the public, particularly the daily-wage earning people in urban/rural areas, are increasingly dependent on relief schemes and charity for daily subsistence.
With the COVID-19 cess, the PDA Government is adding extra-ordinary burden to the public, it said while demanding immediate roll-back of the decision to levy “unimaginable tax” on petroleum products.
“As understood by a layman, a Cess is a tax on tax, an amount payable on the tax amount. However, it is painfully understood by the public that any increase in any form of tax is ultimately paid for by the consumers and not by the dealers, who happily recover the taxed amount many times over by raising the retail cost of the product,” it said in a press communiqué.
Terming the ‘COVID-19 cess’ as “nothing but daylight robbery” by the present PDA Government, which cannot be tolerated, the NPF said the Government appears to be trying to recover immediately “the little pinch of free ration given to few daily wage earners in the name of lockdown”.
“The Government may seek justification, citing the preparatory cost being incurred by the state due to the pandemic. But the Naga public must not be taken for a ride yet again by technical explanations and smooth abstract rhetoric. The preparatory period is over. Sufficient amount of money have poured into the state coffers for this very purpose. If Nagaland state is still not prepared yet, no amount of money will suffice,” it stated.
Asserting that after more than a month of lock-down, every citizen is feeling the pinch, albeit some more than others, the NPF said it is high time for the Government of the day to formulate and implement policies that will relieve the public, even to the extent of subsidizing essential goods to the unemployed, the private-sector employees and the daily wage-earners instead of merely feeding a few of them for a few days, many of whom are dependent on the charity of NGOs, Churches or some benefactors.
“Time and again, the NPF party has urged upon the present PDA Government to check the price rise in the state for the sake of the poor public. However, instead of paying attention to the pleas of the public, the Government turned a deaf ear upon the demand of the people, which ultimately resulted in sky-rocketing prices of every essential commodity, adding more fuel to the suffering public. The Naga public never expected the present Government to turn into such a callous, merciless, heartless attitude when its people are suffering and under traumatic situation not only for the pandemic Covid-19 but also due to its day to day self subsistence,” it alleged while reiterating its earlier stand that “the longer this Government holds the reign of power in the state the more the common people will suffer.” (Page News Service)