Reacting to the news item “ACAUT welcomes UDD action” published Wednesday, Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) CEO Orenthung Lotha clarified that he had taken the “decision and action” by keeping in mind the best and immediate interest of DMC.
Further Orenthung, asserted that the government accorded sanction to levy taxes through a notification dated October 26, 2012.
He argued that by the same notification, the rate was also prescribed. He said as per sub-section 4 of the section 120 of the Act, provided that such sanctions be given and the municipality should act there upon.
He said DMC as a statutory body, could collect tax for maintenance of the town and its proper functioning and collection of toll tax and fees has been empowered by Municipal Act, 2001.
He added that of the 74th Amendment of the Indian Constitution been implemented such function as road maintenance within municipality, water supply, street lighting, registration of birth & death etc.
were vested with the municipalities. He also denied the allegations that he was “toeing” the line of vested persons and that the collection at toll gates was done in his “personal interest “ as alleged ACAUT.
Orenthung however concurred with ACAUT that DMC was not a “play ground” adding it is a statutory body for providing better civic amenities and services to the general public with its limited resources.
He also gave a background to the development of DMC earlier known as Dimapur Town Committee which was officially installed on August 28, 1954 when Nagaland state was under the Assam state as Naga Hills District.
He pointed out that Dimapur Town Committee was upgraded to a municipal council in 2004 and in the process of providing civic amenities and services to the public, DMC levied tolls and fees in order to raise revenue for performing its duties and functions.
NBOADD lauds ACAUT, govt. action
Nagaland Business Owners Association Dimapur District (NBOADD) lauded the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) for the untiring effort, courage and sacrifices made to vindicate public of Nagaland from unabated taxation, despite various challenges it faced.
NBOADD further appealed ACAUT to continue their endeavor, asserting that “they have the mandate and support from every right thinking Naga citizen”.
Also appreciating the state government for being sensitive to the need of the people, NBOADD said the action has exposed “unjustifiable toll tax and fees collected by DMC, brought to their notice by ACAUT”.
It said when DMC “does not maintain or provide infrastructure and facilities to its citizens”, and that the “question of collecting toll tax and toll fee without any reason from public was unjustifiable, illogical and amounts to extortion”.
Asking the Dimapur Municipal council (DMC) to be logical, NBOADD said “toll tax and toll fees are collected to maintain and sustain infrastructure and provide facilities and amenities to the public”.
NBOADD wondered why DMC could not follow the examples of other state municipalities which ran affairs “without toll tax/fee”.
NBOADD appealed to DMC to strive towards being an asset for the citizens of Dimapur instead of becoming a liability.
Meanwhile, NBOADD urged the government “to repel and amend any law under the Municipal Act that sanctions collection toll fee and toll tax if there was any”.
NVCO lauds UDD action
Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organization (NVCO) has lauded the initiative of the Urban Development Department (UDD), Municipal Administration Cell (MAC) for canceling/terminating the services of 41 unauthorized lessees in Dimapur for collecting tolls and fees. NVCO has also termed the reaction of Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) Employees’ Association (EA) as “shameful, stupid and unreasonable.”
In a statement, NVCO president Kezhokhoto Savi said it supported the UDD-MAC directive to the DC, SP of Dimapur & DMC CEO to immediately halt unauthorized lessees from collecting tolls and fees on various items in Dimapur Municipal area which was violating section 199 of Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001.
NVCO said the organization as part of its campaign against illegal taxation had earlier submitted a representation on August 8 last to DC Dimapur highlighting increase of toll tax counters with exorbitant rates throughout the state by municipal and town councils causing price-rise of essential and non-essential commodities.
Asserting that the fight against “illegal taxation or illegal collection of cash” was on full swing, NVCO said “We cannot allow DMC to run at the cost of public.”
The organization also questioned how could DMC-EA challenged the laws which governed them and defend the order issued by DMC CEO which was in total violation of the Nagaland Municipal Act.
NVCO said DMC-EA should note that the municipal and town councils were now run by the state government and even the CEO DMC was an employee of the state government.
The organization strongly appealed the DC and SP Dimapur to take immediate actions as per the directive of UDD-MAC for the interest of public.
DMC-EA defends CEO; reacts to ACAUT statement
Reacting to the statement issued by Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) on the termination of services of 41 toll collectors authorized by Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) CEO, DMC-Employees’ Association (EA) Thursday defended the CEO and also refuted ACAUT’s claim.
DMC-EA maintained that the CEO, Orenthung Lotha had rightfully performed his duty in issuing authorization order to the lessees for collection of toll tax.
The association also said the CEO issued the order “not for vested interest” as claimed by ACAUT. Reacting to ACAUT’s statement that DMC was “not a playground for politicians” for loyalists and an institution to collect garbage, DMC-EA asked ACAUT not to insult a public office.
It asserted that Dimapur was kept clean because of the garbage collectors who swept the town every day.
DMC-EA also reminded that DMC, , has been legally collecting toll tax since its formation in 1954. The association said DMC was an autonomous body “empowered by the government to levy toll tax” for generating funds for the maintenance of the town and its development.
The funds generated had been used for meeting the expenses of DMC establishment including maintenance of the sanitation, vehicles and paying the salary to sweepers and scavengers who clean the town area every day.