Pokhara, January 2:

The Maoists have been collecting taxes in construction materials supply, rural roads and other internal resources of the Kaski District Development Committee (DDC) in over a dozen places of the district for the past five months.

Although Kaski DDC had hired contractors in mid-July to collect taxes in those places, the Maoists have been collecting the taxes themselves, depriving the contractors from tax collection. Local Development Officer Narhari Baral said tax collection from the internal resources by the DDC has been halted completely after the Maoists took over tax collection. “The Maoists are using their own receipt to collect taxes from 12 places of Kaski,” Baral said. Kaski DDC had been collecting taxes from district’s internal resources in altogether 17 places of Pokhara and other nearby villages. The DDC is now collecting taxes from remaining five places only.

The contractors said the DDC had given the contract for tax collection after taking Rs 9.1 million in advance from them. They added that they should either be allowed to resume tax collection or their money should be reimbursed. They threatened to padlock DDC if their money was not reimbursed. Chairman of the Nepal Construction Workers’ Association Om Gauchan said, “The DDC should return the money to the contractors if it fails to convince the Maoists to stop collecting taxes.”

The Maoists are collecting road tax from Kanhukhola-Dudhpokhari, Lamachaur-Machapuchhre, Rakhi-Mijuredanda and Khahare-Pame rural roads, the DDC said. The Maoists are also collecting taxes of road, stones and sand from Hemja Gajareghat, Tallo Khet of Bharatpokhari, Lame Aal and Musetuda Ghat of Lekhnath, Lamachaur Ghat and Sitapaila Ghat of Kaski, DDC added.

The Maoists’ Kaski district leader Bishnu Poudel said they were compelled to collect tax after DDC continued construction works without prior agreement with them. He said the money collected as tax would be spent on repair of rural roads and other development works.