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NH-39 Still A Gold Mine For Cops, Highwaymen

IMPHAL, Oct 15: The Imphal-Dimapur section of NH-39 is still a fertile hunting ground for unscrupulous police personnel looking to earn extra income illegally and most blatantly. Nevertheless, drivers have been facing all kinds of odds and harassments while bringing in essential commodities to Manipur along the highway.

An exclusive assessment tour conducted by The Sangai Express on this route regarding the hardships, legal and illegal taxes being collected from transporters and the security measures taken up for the transporters revealed the unlawful activities of Manipur Police, Nagaland Police and to a lesser extent the Assam Police as well as their high-handed attitude.

All empty trucks travelling from Imphal to Guwahati have to pay Rs 20 each in the name of entry fee at all the police stations located within Manipur starting from Sekmai.

Vehicle registration numbers are noted at the Assam Rifles’ check posts located along the route but no fee was charged.

After crossing Manipur, each and every vehicle is again compelled to pay Rs 20 each at all the police stations starting from Khuzuma till Dimapur in Nagaland.

Police personnel manning all these check posts would unfailingly check the number of vehicles and the goods they are carrying and then ask for a certain amount of money. But the police men would never ask about the problems faced by drivers and transporters.

The drivers can breathe a sigh of relief once they enter Assam from Dimapur. Even though, there are vehicle check posts inside Assam, no police men ask for money from the drivers.

However, in some cases, some police men on late night duty ask for Rs 10. While most of the drivers complied with their demand, many drivers simply drive away. Even then, it does not create any serious problem.

Traffic Police ask for Rs 10/20 from each loaded truck coming from Guwahati. In rare cases, police men ask for Rs 20 from trucks in between the highway.

A police man was seen thrusting his gun-butt towards the front window of the truck because the driver refused to pay Rs 20.

Once the trucks enter Dimapur, Nagaland Police charge Rs 300 from each truck. For entry at police check posts inside Nagaland, Rs 300 is the minimum amount for each truck.

In addition to these entry fees, the trucks are also paying illegal taxes to UG groups and these taxes are not uniform. It depends on the types of goods the trucks are carrying.

A particular UG group would be collecting their tax a little distance away from police check posts at the rate of Rs 100 per truck which were given receipts in the name Guide Association.

On entering Manipur, the trucks have to again pay Rs 200 to Rs 300 at all the police check-posts starting from Mao Gate.

One similar practice of Nagaland Police and Manipur Police is that they would give a token to the truck conductor who comes to make the entry for a few minutes. They would again take back the token before the vehicle crosses their check gate.

The impact of this illegal taxes and extortion is obvious. One kilogram of potato costs Rs 20 at Imphal while it is available at Rs 10 at Dimapur or Assam. Ultimately, it is the people of Manipur who are being victimized by both the lawful and the unlawful.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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