Kohima: All commercial establishments were closed and transport vehicles remained off the roads in a 12-hour bandh 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, CNCCI president Khekugha Muru said.

Trade bodies stationed volunteers strategically to ensure smooth and peaceful observance of the shutdown. Police said no untoward incident has been reported so far.

The bandh has, however, 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. They had demanded immediate solution to multiple taxations by Naga political groups and to remove all forms of taxes collected by civic bodies on items that come under the GST regime.

The chamber also demanded 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.

In response, the state government, while appealing to agitators to call off the protest, said the administration has decided that collection of any kind of tax or fee by all municipal and town councils on items falling under the GST regime would be stopped immediately.

The government also assured 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.

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.

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