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Citizens� body seeks rollback of COVID-19 cess on fuel

By Correspondent

DIMAPUR, May 2 - The Dimapur District Citizens� Forum today appealed to the Nagaland Government to roll back the COVID-19 cess levied on petrol and diesel.

Though there has not been any positive response from the State Government, various organisations of the State have called for rollback of the cess, a release from the media cell of the forum said. The cess was levied on diesel and petrol from the midnight of April 28.

�The abnormal rise in petrol and diesel prices will obviously generate a good amount of revenue for the Government. But the hardship faced by the general people of Nagaland will be much more compared to the additional revenue generated,� the forum said.

It said that with imposition of the cess, the already skyrocketing prices of commodities will shoot up further, which would affect every citizen who has been under lockdown for the past 40 days.

At a time when people in Dimapur, the commercial hub of the State, are reeling under immense hardships, and even traders are struggling to pay rent for their houses, shops and godowns, and electricity bills, this increase in cess on petrol and diesel was unthinkable and should be rolled back, the forum maintained.

It added that traders are in a precarious position as on the one hand, they face loss of perishable items and on the other, they have to pay salary of their staff.

The Opposition Naga People�s Front and the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, among others, have also demanded rollback of the cess.

However, Additional Chief Secretary and Finance Commissioner Sentiyanger Imchen on Friday said the cess on diesel and petrol would be withdrawn once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. He said that the State Government has imposed the cess to supplement its resources for fighting the pandemic. This is expected to generate additional revenue to the tune of Rs 55.58 crore annually, he said.

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