Sale tax has farmers on hot coals

Bhojpur, January 14:

Cardamom farmers here have warned of strong protests if the district development committee (DDC) does not immediately revoke the tax imposed on the sale of their produce. They said that in the first place the DDC did not fix the minimum price of cardamom and now, it has imposed Rs 3.50 tax per kg of cardamom exported from Khotang district.

Farmers said the DDC suddenly imposed the tax without consulting them and also without fixing a minimum price for the produce. They have demanded that the DDC, local administration and political parties immediately revoke the tax.

A meeting of cardamom farmers of Siddheshwor, Gupteshwor, Bokhim, Champe and Bhaisipankha VDCs formed a seven-member committee chaired by Chandra Prasad Pandey to press forward their demand. Pandey said the tax imposition will not only affect farmers here but also those in the northern parts of Khotang.

Cardamom from Bhojpur is sold in the markets of Dhankuta, Hile, Kattikeghat and ndherighat. The DDC said it had not collected taxes in previous years due to the conflict and various other reasons. It added that it would collect tax on all farm products produced in and exported from the district.

The enraged farmers have decided to organise a meeting in Bhojpur bazaar, the district headquarters, on January 20 and announce their programme of protests if the tax is not revoked by then. The farmers also claimed that the DDC had collected Rs 1 crore revenue from tax on cardamom sales.