Residents of the plains belt of West Garo Hills have written to the Administrator of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) over what they claim are multiple tax levies imposed on them for their cattle.
The complainants claimed that the last Executive Council of the GHADC had, just prior to its disbandment, issued illegal orders allowing for the collection of cattle tax from villages in the plains belt.
Lessees have been empowered to collect taxes on cattle in Tikrikilla, Phulbari, Chibinang, Bhaitbari, Belbari, Rajabala, Rajpur, Shyamding, Nimaikata and Gomaijhora, one of the complainants, Azidur Rehman, said.
However, apart from Tikrikilla, there are no other GHADC settled haats for cattle sale and the collections are being carried out on the justification that cattle transport was taking place through all of these places.
As the location of a haat, taxes are paid to the Tikrikilla lessee and the complainants see no justification for further taxation on the same cattle. But double taxation is exactly what they are being pressured to pay, as the new lessees are trying their utmost to squeeze the cattle owners further.
“The traders are being harassed and have to pay twice or thrice to transport their cattle. The setting up of such gates is illegal and is posing huge problems for the common man. We understand that no new law has been created by the GHADC for the set up of such ‘haats’ and as such the cattle tax is completely illegal,” they added.
Calling the move by the EC as arbitrary, the complainants have now sought action against all such illegal collection centres.