DIMAPUR, AUGUST 31: An exasperated community of traders at Dimapur has asked Nagaland Government to provide a solution to the “multi-tier taxation” that is crippling the business community of the State’s commercial hub.
“The business community is contributing a major chunk of revenue to the State Government in the form of GST. Now the business community would also like to seek an answer from the State Government ~ whether we should pay taxes to the various groups or the State Government? The business community can no longer bear the brunt of multi-tier taxation”, read a statement issued by the Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) on Tuesday.
It stated that the “alarming increase in ‘illegal taxation’ by various groups” has gone “so high”, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning last year.
Multiple illegal taxations imposed by various groups start right from train wagons to godowns and extend till the showroom or respective shops, the DCCI explained.
Besides the yearly taxation imposed by various groups on each and every shop, these groups have also started imposing taxes item-wise, it added.
According to the traders’ group, a new type of harassment to the business community in the form of random checking and raids on godowns by various groups has also emerged.
“Some groups are going to the extent of imposing heavy penalties on godowns storing damaged goods or expired item. Here the business community would like to clarify that there are certain norms and procedures with regard to damaged goods and expired items. We have to store the expired items and damaged goods in godowns as companies give refund for such goods. After due process, the expired or damaged items are either returned to respective companies or later destroyed. Flimsy imposition of penalties on damaged and expired items by any group or vigilantes is uncalled for and unwarranted.
“Now, the business community would like to seek an answer or solution from groups regarding expired items kept in godowns ~ please advise us where we should store expired or damaged goods before due process of refund or disposing is done?” read the statement.
The DCCI pointed out that prices of essential commodities and other goods are presently much cheaper in adjoining border towns like Lahorijan or Khatkhati or even Kohima and other towns in the State than in Dimapur.
“This is solely because the various groups have targeted Dimapur as their tax base and the multiple-tier of taxation even on a single business outlet is confounding.
“Equally confounding is the lukewarm attitude of the State Government! Despite numerous representations to the Government and district administration and press releases in the local media highlighting the plight of business community due to illegal taxation, the Government of the day is still in deep slumber”, it maintained.
According to the DCCI, the ball now is in the court of the State Government to decide and act upon the menace of illegal taxation.
“The business community of Dimapur has no option but to take extreme measures including closure of all shops and business houses if the Government turns a blind eye to the plight of the business community. DCCI also request the district administration to allow opening of all shops and business houses on all weekdays except Sundays. Whereas in all other districts shops are allowed to open six days a week, in Dimapur shops are allowed to open only four days a week”, it stated.
Also, it urged the Dimapur Municipal Council to do away with item-wise toll tax to ease the burden of traders and businessmen.
It cautioned all shops and business houses not to indulge in any kind of illegal or unfair trade practices.
“Those shops found practicing unfair trade practices would be penalised as per provision of the law. DCCI also reminds all shops and business houses to strictly adhere to SOPs regarding COVID-19, as laid down by the District Task Force”, it warned.
(Page News Service)