Meghalaya govt to deliberate on reducing sales tax and VAT

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Shillong, June 8 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy has instructed the state Taxation Department to study how the issue of reduction in sales tax and value added tax could be dealt with, following the unprecedented inflation after the fuel price hike.

Official sources said here today that as Meghalaya had no rail links, essential commodities had to be transported daily through trucks via Assam, which could be one of the reasons for the price rise of essential commodities.

''We are aware of the problem and wanted the Deputy Commissioners to see that the price of essential commodities are proportionate and do not go beyond the reach of common man, '' Dr Roy said.

He added, ''This is not the right time to hike the price of fuel.

Fuel is important for daily life and if there is increase in the price, this will have a lot of side effects.'' ''The prices of everything have shot up. We cannot get everything with a weekly market budget of Rs 1,000 now after the fuel price hike. The fuel hike is causing severe hardships for the common man,'' Nisha Rawat said.

Like Rawat, many others have also complained that local transporters, especially local cabbies, were overcharging fares from one point to another citing increase of fuel price.

According to taxi commuters, taxi drivers in some parts of the city had hiked taxi fares by Rs three to Rs five from the existing rates.

''Local taxi drivers are already taking advantage of fuel hike by charging arbitrary exorbitant rates,'' Maurice Rapthap said. .

Meanwhile, the Shillong Region Taxi Owners' and Drivers' Association (SRTODA) said a delegation of the association would meet the Deputy Commissioner soon and highlight before him the need to raise taxi fares considering the hike in fuel prices.

However, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner B Dhar said at present, the district administration would not initiate any move to hike taxi or bus fares.

Mr Dhar also appealed to the people to come forward and lodge complaint against any taxis or bus drivers found increasing fares beyond the existing rates.

State Taxation Minister J A Lyngdoh, who convened an emergency meeting with his officials to tackle the fuel price hike yesterday, will meet again tomorrow to take a final decision on whether to slash the sales tax and value added tax.

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