SHILLONG, July 18 � Talks between East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Jopthiaw Lyngdoh and NGOs planning a two-day office picketing from Tuesday, demanding rollback of Motor Vehicle Tax (MVT) hike, has failed.
The Deputy Commissioner held the meeting today with the NGOs to call off their agitation, however, the meeting was not fruitful. The NGOs � Khasi Students� Union, Jaintia Students� Union and the East Khasi Hills Local Taxi Welfare Association � said that they would go ahead with their agitation from tomorrow, but was open for further discussion with the government.
Transport Minister Abu Taher Mondal, meanwhile, said, only the Cabinet can rollback MVT hike. He added a special task force gave suggestion to the Cabinet to increase the over ten-year-old MVT rates.
Thereafter, through a Cabinet note opinions were sought on the hike. Just two responses were received, but, there was no objection to the increase. After due consideration, the tax hike was notified by the Cabinet.
Mondal said, only the Cabinet can reverse its decision. �The Cabinet has to meet and decide if there can be rollback on the tax increase,� Mondol said over the phone.
Justifying the hike, he added, the tax was increased after ten years. Still the rates are lesser than Assam�s 2005 rates. �Meghalaya�s MVT rate, even after the increase, is still much lesser than most States of the country,� he added.
While Assam levies Rs 2750 on taxi cabs annually, Meghalaya�s new tax rate is Rs 2600. Similarly, the tourist taxi cabs pay Rs 5000 annually in Assam in Meghalaya, the rate is Rs 4800.
He said the government would increase the rate of taxis in a �regulated manner� so that no section of the society is affected.
Citing the example of cities in the country, Mondal said there are additional taxes such as �green tax� on old vehicles in India to discourage their use with their high carbon emission. �If we impose such taxes here there would be a lot of vehicles which has to pay additional taxes,� he stated.