Dimapur, October 17: The People for Democratic Rights (PDR) has come out in full support of the stand taken by the Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organization (NVCO) and Dimapur Chamber of Commerce & Industries (DCCI) that collection at check gates and highways and tolls on all items should be stopped since Nagaland is already under the Goods & Services Tax (GST) regime.
In a statement, the PDR made it clear that no amount of justification from Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) to collect tolls and urban utility fees will change the reality of GST law of “one nation, one tax”. It maintained that DMC can only collect such tolls/items and utility fees only after the GST law is amended to allow such collection by urban local bodies.
The PDR also slammed the Dimapur Municipal Council for separately meeting the Naga Council Dimapur and resolving to continue with old rates for tolls without involving the trade bodies.
“The fact that DCCI is the parent body for business establishments in Dimapur and that the issue was first raised by the Hardware Merchants’ Association Dimapur District was completely ignored and the DMC chose to separately meet the Naga Council Dimapur and resolved to continue with the old rates for tolls,” it said while asking how an issue directly concerning businessmen be resolved without their participation.
“Naga Council, being the apex body in Dimapur, PDR appreciate the gesture, however, the DMC discussing and resolving the issue with NCD knowing the position of DCCI is like administering medicine to the patient attendant. No matter how good the intention might be the Naga Council as a matured body should not have taken a call on behalf of business community resolving issues without the aggrieved party consent.”
Also pointing out that when the PAC (NCD) was formed to tackle the menace of multiple taxation, the PDR asked with what moral authority will it monitor the activities of the lessees under DMC when the GST regime covers all taxes.
“The tolls and urban utility fees clearly amounts to double taxation and the PAC (NCD) was expected to take a strong stand on any sort of double/multiple taxation no matter how much the government agencies tries to justify collecting tolls citing difficulties which are to be solved by the government itself. It is also surprisingly how the Naga Council Dimapur (NCD) which has a recorded history of vehemently opposing the lease system agreed with the DMC about the lease system and to continue with collection of taxes as per old rates,” it said.
Reminding that opposition from past various organizations like Naga Council Dimapur, DUCCF, Naga Women Hoho Dimapur, Business Association of Nagas, Muslim Council Dimapur, DCCI, Dimapur Bengali Samaj and the GBs Union Dimapur, ACAUT and other civil societies had prevented the government from introducing lease system in DMC in the past, the PDR wondered why these organizations had remained silent when the government was in the process of introducing lease system and already introduced now thus creating problems such as the one raised by the Hardware Merchants’ Association Dimapur.
Meanwhile the PDR has appreciated the Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation which has on several occasions written to the Government to effectively execute the common judgement & order dated 03.06.2014 passed by the Gauhati High Court banning all sorts of collections/donations at check gates and highways. (Page News Service)