DIMAPUR, June 24 – Around 60 to 70 goods trucks carrying food items and essential commodities to Nagaland and Manipur were denied passage to enter Dimapur on Friday by Tax department officials at Bokajan in Karbi Anglong district of Assam. The reason being cited was that the truckers do not have road permits.
Movement of the stranded trucks was allowed on late Saturday night even as reports suggested that the officials had ‘lifted’ the blockade. Another report said some of the trucks were released after intervention by the Bokajan SDO (C) and SDPO.
The trucks are transporting goods from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, where these were ironically provided passage without any glitch. Besides these metros, the trucks had to pass through UP, Bihar and West Bengal, among other States, en route to their respective destinations, where the law enforcers had no problems with the legality of the supply trucks’ passage.
Even after entering Assam, the trucks were provided unquestioned passage everywhere till they reached Bokajan. Nowhere else in the country or Assam were the truckers demanded road permits as they are already in possession of Transit Pass or TP issued by the respective State Governments.
Drivers of the few trucks that managed to enter Dimapur on Saturday told reporters that they had to grease the palms of the Tax department officials with amounts that ranged from Rs 3,000 to 10,000 in order to get past the tax toll gate at Bokajan. In addition, the officials were demanding VAT forms supposed to be issued by the respective governments in Nagaland and Manipur, the drivers said.
Transport unions in Dimapur, however, insisted that the Assam Tax officials had nothing to do with VAT forms supposed to be issued by governments beyond their jurisdiction. They further insisted that as long as the truck drivers were in possession of the Transit Permits, the Tax department officials had no business to ask for road permit.
“And why only at Bokajan? What about the rest of the country or even the rest of the State? If they wanted the Road Permit, they should have asked for it as soon as the trucks entered Assam and not when they are on the brink of exiting Assam,” said a truck owner at Dimapur.
The Superintendent of Tax, Bokajan, was not in office when Dimapur-based reporters arrived at his office to get information and his subordinates refused to give his phone number.