DDCs not to collect tax on highways

Biratnagar, July 2:

An understanding has been reached to remove tax collection centres (Dhat) put up by the district development committees along the highways in eastern Terai.

An understanding to this effect was reached following demands from industrialists and businessmen at a programme here yesterday. They had also drawn attention of the home minister here a few days ago saying that contractors collected tax according to their whims and not according to any official regulations.

The understanding was reportedly reached after an interaction between chief district officers of five districts in eastern Terai, local developments officers, police chiefs, industrialists and businessmen and under secretary at the tax department at the local development ministry, Mahesh Dahal .

The understanding was reached to immediately remove all the tax collection centres along the highway, initiate action to give all contracts to a single contractor, inform political parties about the legal provision regarding tax collection, form a monitoring committee comprising of all sides and refund unlawful taxes collected in the past, entrepreneurs said.

At a programme organised at the initiation of the Confederation of Industries, its president in Morang district, Ashok Murarka said that many entrepreneurs have become bankrupt on account of unlawful taxes, and laid emphasis that the police administration should become more active on highways.

Entrepreneurs have been protesting against the system that forces cargo trucks to pay tax again and again at numerous check points.

Mahesh Dahal said that the system of setting up such tax collection centres along the hig-hways had been declared illegal two years ago. He also urged the police not to maintain close relationships with contractors.

Taxes were collected in an unlawful manner in the Terai region including Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Siraha, Saptari, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Rautahat, Bara districts, he said. At the program-me, entrepreneurs alleged coll-usion between police and contractors for such unlawful colle-ction of taxes. Trader Ganga Bis-an Rathi alleged that contract-ors have paid truck drivers, police and administration for deal.

President of the Youth Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Morang Sur-esh Pyakurel said many powerful segments of the official machinery was behind it.