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Sangma abetting highway extortion: truckers

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, July 10 � A truckers� body today slammed Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma alleging that he wants them to compromise with extortion on highways.

�When we approached the Chief Minister, we were shocked to get a response from him that he cannot do anything and that we should come to an understanding with the operators of the illegal toll and check gates,� North East Commercial Truck Owners and Operators Association president Augustine Shanpru claimed.

�Instead of acting against the illegal toll gates, Sangma suggested the truckers to come into an understanding with the operators of these gates and settle them on monthly basis,� he said.

The truckers� body charged Sangma of abetting extortion on highways.

Without naming the Chief Minister, they said, �some of the money illegally collected from truckers on the highways go to the pockets of politicians�.

Alleging that men armed with AK 47 rifles manning around 29 illegal check gates along the highways in Meghalaya were extorting over Rs 6,000 per truck per trip, Shanpru said, �the extortion on the highways have forced many promising entrepreneurs to quit business�.

The truckers� body had in June last submitted separate memorandums to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, UPA chairperson and opposition leader Sushma Swaraj demanding a CBI inquiry into the menace.

Swaraj and Sitaram Yechury, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, have assured that they would raise the issue in the next session of the Parliament, Shanpru said.

The truckers association has decided to go to Delhi again to pressurise the dispensation to act against the alleged extortion activities. � PTI

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