Nepalgunj, December 20:

Entrepreneurs have stopped buying forest products ever since Maoists demanded 20 per cent tax on the purchase and sale of these products.

Although the Banke district forest office invited a tender for the sale of 17,000 cft of timber worth nearly Rs 5 million that is lying in Chisapani and Mathebas, the entrepreneurs bristled at the tax imposed by the Maoists and chose to stay away from the bid, the central member of the Forest Products Entrepreneurs’ Association, Kapil Adhikari, said.

Not a single bid was registered till the last day on Sunday. As such the tender itself stands cancelled, the Banke district forest office said. Saying that double tax on the price of forest products would hurt the traders, Adhikari, who is also an executive committee member of the Nepalgunj Chambers of Commerce and Industries, said the entrepreneurs have decided to put business on hold till the Maoists join the interim government.

President of the Community Forest Consumers’ Federation Nepal, Banke, Tapta Poudel, said they are continuing to charge 20 per cent tax on community forest product transactions. The Maoists are also collecting tax from herb dealers, entrepreneurs said. They are collecting Rs 1,000 against herb exports from Nepalgunj to India or those going outside the district in the name of the joint revolutionary people’s council, Banke, said secretary of the Herb Entrepreneurs’ Association, Madhukar Thapa.