Shops were closed and transport vehicles remained off the roads in a 12-hour shutdown called by trade bodies across Nagaland on Thursday over alleged illegal taxation by Naga political groups and government agencies.
The bandh that began at 6 am was called by the Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI). The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) imposed it in the district.
The shutdown has been complete in not only major cities like Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung, but even smaller towns such as Tuli, Jalukie, Pfutsero, said Khekugha Muru, CNCCI President.
Trade bodies stationed volunteers strategically to ensure smooth and peaceful observance of the shutdown.
No untoward incident has been reported so far, police said.
The bandh has not affected the functioning of government offices, banks or educational institutions, or plying of government and private vehicles, DCCI president, Akashe Zhimomi, said.
Muru said that the bandh was called in protest against the non-satisfactory response of the State government to its representation submitted to the chief secretary on September 9 to immediately resolve multiple taxations by Naga political groups and remove all forms of taxes collected by civic bodies on items that come under the GST regime.
It also demanded the immediate implementation of the SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest) Act, 2002, and reserve nominee representation to municipal, town and ad-hoc town councils from business and trade bodies.
State government relents
In response to the CNCCI’s demands, the State government, while appealing to agitators to call off the protest, said that the administration has decided that the collection of any kind of tax or fee by municipal and town councils on items falling under the GST regime would be stopped immediately.
It also said that the administrators of all urban local bodies would take steps for including representatives of the business community of their respective cities or towns in their advisory committees for taking decisions with respect to various business-related activities.
On the CNCCI’s demand to stop extortion bids by Naga political groups, the government directed Dimapur Commissioner of Police to immediately put in place a security grid and take other measures, including stationing sufficient security personnel at various locations, to check illegal extortion.
State minister Neiba Kronu had earlier said that the Assembly Select Committee headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has decided to table the SARFAESI Act, which allows banks and other financial institutions to give loans to private individuals and also auction commercial or residential properties of defaulters to recover loans, in the winter session of the Assembly for enactment.
Nevertheless, expressing dissatisfaction over the government’s response, the CNCCI went ahead with the 12-hour band across the state, Muru said.