The Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters (AMTT) has alleged that there was huge revenue leakage from minerals supplied to cement factories in East Jaintia Hills.
In a statement issued today, AMTT president Enrico D. Pasi said his association fully supported the indefinite strike called by Jaintia Hills Truck Owners Association (JHTOA) since yesterday.
“The demands of the JHTOA are genuine and condemns the selfish perceptive of the cement companies for not fulfilling the long pending demand regarding reasonable increase of freight rates for local transporters, utilising the existing cement godowns of the cement companies in the State and special incentives for promoting and employment opportunities for the local transporters,” Pasi said.
According to Pasi, several cement factories in East Jaintia Hills are relying solely on the raw materials mined and collected from various parts of the district.
“Absence of revenue checkpoints en-route the cement factories to check mineral laden trucks supplying raw materials to the factories have given huge undue benefits to those factories. Coal and limestone supplied by local suppliers to cement factories are not taxed nor any account was kept by any government authorities,” he said.
Pasi said that around 800 limestone laden trucks enter the cement factories in East Jaintia Hills daily and all these trucks are highly overloaded with almost three times the permissible weight.
“If one has to calculate at the rate of 30 tons of limestone per truck per day at 365 days a year it comes out to 87,60,000 tons annually. This would mean that the State government and Central government are losing that much taxes and royalty yearly from limestone supplied to cement factories only in East Jaintia Hills,” he said.
According to Pasi, if such revenue leakage is plugged, the State would be able to construct at least 100 kilometers of good roads every year in East Jaintia Hills.
“But the government is turning a blind eye to revenue leakage from minerals supplied to cement industries. Plugging revenue leakage from minerals supplied to cement industries will enable the government to cut tax rates on fuels like petrol and diesels,” he added.