By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 19: Sand truck owners today alleged that the government is suffering huge revenue loss due to lack of a proper forest policy.
According to the All South Kamrup Sand Truck Owners Association, some 500 trucks carry 6000 cubic meters of sand every day from the South Kamrup region.
"Even if the government charges Rs 140 per cubic metre, it can earn revenue to the tune of Rs 30.66 crore a year," the association's president Md Siraj Ali said.
He said there are leakages in the existing mahal system through which the government is getting only "a minimum revenue."
"The mahal owners do not issue challans to the truckers. They charge a certain amount, citing that they have to pay some officials," Ali said.
The association's secretary Tapan Doloi said the State government should revamp its forest policy and ensure that royalty is collected at the source.
"What is happening now is that the truckers, who have already paid the mahal owners, are harassed on the roads by officials of some departments who also demand money. The money is not going to the government exchequer," Doloi said.
The association said the Kulsi-Loharghat-Kukurmara-Chayygaon-Jambari-Gumi-Boko-Singra area has sufficient sand, but due to an ineffective government policy, the truckers are uble to collect it in a "proper way".
"We want to do the business legally. But as we are entangled in the existing system, we are having to compromise on certain ideals and principles. There is an urgent need for a transparent government policy," he said.
According to the association, some 37,000 families of South Kamrup are directly or indirectly dependent on the sand carrying business.
The association today discussed these issues at a meeting at Mirza which was attended among others by former PCCF MC Malakar, senior advocate Nekibur Zaman and Kamrup AASU general secretary Nirod Kumar Das.
The meeting passed a resolution with an appeal to government to frame a comprehensive policy.