'Will slap economic-offence cases if new deadline is not met'
GUWAHATI: The State Transport Department has set the deadline of January 31, 2022, for tax defaulting vehicle owners to clear their arrear dues. If the vehicle owners fail to meet the deadline, the department will initiate cases against them under economic offences.
The department has not got around Rs 400 crore arrear dues from vehicle owners in the state, including Rs 130 crore from the vehicle owners of Guwahati. Arrear dues comprise mainly road tax and the motor vehicle tax of luxurious cars paid during registration.
The department had to extend the deadline for paying arrears by vehicle owners seven times because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last deadline was October 30, 2021.
According to Assistant Transport Commissioner Gautam Das, a vehicle owner needs to clear road taxes in four instalments in a year. "However, many vehicle owners have kept their road tax pending after making the payment of one or two instalments. The tax defaulters mainly comprise big farms plying heavy vehicles used for construction and other purposes," he said.
Das added, "Luxurious cars with Rs 6 lakh or more market prices need to pay an extra tax for 15 years at the time of their registration. There is an option of making the payment in instalments. However, many vehicle owners pay the first instalment and ply their cars without paying the subsequent instalments. In Guwahati alone, the owners of luxurious cars owe the department Rs 30 crore vehicle tax. Commercial vehicle owners of Guwahati are still to pay Rs 100 crore to the department. We have served notices to the owners of private firms owning vehicles and the owners of luxurious cars asking them to clear their arrear dues, but to no avail.
"We have instructed all DTOs to intensify the motor vehicle tax-collection drive in their respective districts."
The Transport Department and the DTOs are also at fault in the large-scale default in motor vehicle tax. Had the department regularly monitored the default in vehicle tax payment, the arrear amount would not have been so huge. Sources do not rule out a nexus between a section of Transport department employees and some vehicle owners who continue to ply their vehicles without paying vehicle taxes.