Day 3 of Sonowal government
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 27: Two days after closing down four Excise department check gates in the State, the BJP alliance government today abolished 10 check gates under the Environment & Forests department.
Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal in his first cabinet meeting on May 25, a day after taking oath, decided to abolish all check gates in the State, which had become ‘hubs of syndicates and illegal activities’.
“The position of the check-gates under the Department of Environment & Forests has been reviewed with a view to prepare a roadmap to abolish all check-gates and suggest an altertive system for enforcing revenue compliance like flying squads, surprise checks, self-certification and intelligence based action,” said a government press release issued here today.
The check gates abolished with immediate effect are Batiapara, Khapara and Khamukh check gates under Kamrup East division, Dumunichowki, Tulsibari and Ganeshmandir check gates under North Kamrup division, and Uporhali check gate under Kamrup West division in Central Assam circle.
Apart from this, the North Salmara beat & check gate and Rakhaldubi A/c beat cum check gate under Aie-Valley division of LA Social Forestry circle Bongaigaon, and Dargako check gate in Cachar division under Southern Assam circle have also been closed down.
There have been long-standing allegations of huge amounts of money collected illegally from vehicles carrying forest produce in these check gates of the State.
Sources said that part of this money was also shared with top officials in Dispur.
“In Uporhali check-gate under Kamrup West division, more than Rs 10 lakh used to be illegally collected from sand-earth carrying trucks every month,” sources added.
The sources further added that vehicles carrying forest produce are forced to pay illegal taxes despite having tour permits (TP) and challans.