DIBRUGARH, April 10 - A majority of the traders who had obtained licence from the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) for occupying latter�s space to carry out commercial activities at TR Phukan Road in Chowkidinghee here are likely to face eviction and penalty for evading payment to the government body at the enhanced revised rates since 2008 as an outcome of the ruling by the Court of Civil Judge, Dibrugarh.
The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) has been directed to complete the process of shifting of the commercial establishments to alternative place in collaboration with the traders within a period of a month and, in this regard, they have also been asked to conclude the terms and conditions of their occupancy in writing so that future complexities could be avoided in their dealings.
However, the Divisional Superintendent of ASTC, Tinsukia division, Mitradev Changkakoti told The Assam Tribune that some 25 defaulting ASTC licensee traders, who refused to comply with the three subsequent revised enhanced rates since 2008, will have to pay the outstanding amount to ASTC in order to be rehabilitated elsewhere after eviction. Moreover, they will not be relieved from paying service tax and GST to the government account, according to the ASTC officials, said the Divisional Superintendent.
It may be recalled here that the licensees had been paying a nominal monthly licence fee to ASTC originally since 2007 which was found quite disproportionate according to the space occupied by them. Accordingly, the then Managing Director had approved the revised rate @ Rs 5 per square feet per licensee with effect from January 1, 2008 according to the space occupied by them vide HO letter No. ASTC/ENG/95/18/Pt.II/456 dated 13/12/2007.
However, the licensees refused to pay revised enhanced rate to ASTC and took the matter to the court. The licensees began depositing old licence fee to the Rent Controller, Dibrugarh against space occupied by them since enhancement with effect from August 1, 2008. The licensees also reportedly ignored with the second and third enhanced rate @ 10 % on old licensee fee with effect from April, 2014 and April, 2017 to the ASTC.
Some of the licensees had also sublet and underlet their spaces sans the knowledge of the authority concerned and also without paying the fixed licensee fee. As per the ASTC, these occupants (sublet and underlet) who have been occupying land and premises of ASTC, Dibrugarh are unauthorized occupants. When the Divisional Superintendent issued notices to these occupants for their eviction and for their settlement in other place of ASTC, Dibrugarh, some 21 persons filed five separate cases in the court of the Munsif No. 1, Dibrugarh including miscellaneous cases. Accordingly, the court granted interim injunction. Notices were then served upon the ASTC. The ASTC officials contested the said suit and miscellaneous cases in the Court of the Civil Judge, Dibrugarh and won the case in their favour.
The Managing Director, ASTC has already served notices to the defaulting traders for payment of the outstanding dues and shifting of their shops through ASTC authority.