Darjeeling not to pay vehicle taxes from 7 July

Statesman News Service DARJEELING, June 25: Alleging apathy on the state government’s part towards the Gorkhaland demand, the All Transport Joint Action Committee (ATJAC), Darjeeling has resolved to stop paying motor-vehicle taxes from 7 July. The decision comes in the wake of GJMM chief Mr Bimal Gurung’s declaration to implement Gorkhaland number plates on vehicles within the boundary of the proposed state of Gorkhaland. “The state government has overlooked our problems and demands for ages. In defiance of its authority, all vehicles will bear GL on number plates from 7 July and no vehicle owner will pay taxes from the same date,” said ATJAC president Mr Narbu Lama today. This is an add-on to the existing non-cooperation move of the GJMM involving non-payment of electricity and telephone bills. “The rule is compulsory for all private and public vehicles including buses, lorries and two-wheelers. Strict action would be taken against those who do not obey. Those who are not a member of the committee will submit a copy of their license with the GJMM so that we can keep track,” Mr Lama stated. While the number on the plates would remain the same, vehicles of the Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong and Siliguri sub-divisions would be identified through the GL initials affixed on the number plates. The committee that has approximately 90 syndicates in Siliguri, Bagdogra and Dooars, is convincing them to fix the GL number plates as well. “A meeting will be convened with the syndicates on 28 July. It will be good if they decide to take the risk otherwise they will have to fix GL plates beyond Darjeeling More and towards the hills. The same applies to private vehicles coming to the hills,” Mr Lama said adding that his organisation, “would resort to other forms of demonstration if the administration stopped them.” The district administration considers the move if implemented as illegal. “We will do whatever is required under the Motor Vehicles Act. Anybody who dofies it is liable to penalty,” the Darjeeling district magistrate Mr Rajesh Pandey said.

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