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A’dokgre farmers hold rally in NGH

Protest against settlement of ‘Jharu Mahal’

TURA: To protest the settlement of Jharu Mahal (broomstick) and imposition of heavy taxes on marginal broomstick from farmers by the GHADC, the Farmers’ Association of A’dokgre along with various organisations from Kharkutta like KYO, AHAM, ADAPA-Dokongsi, nokmas, laskers and sordars organised a public rally at A’dokgre Playground in North Garo Hills on Saturday.
The rally decided to approach the government on several resolutions taken during the meeting which included prohibition on Jharu Mahalder from collecting tax on broomstick, reduce tax on dried broomstick from Rs 2 per kg to Rs 1 per kg and to declare broomstick as not a forest product but the produce of farmers’ cultivation.
The settlement of jharu mahal for a mere Rs 341000 for the year 2018-19 in favour of the private party and imposition of heavy tax of Rs 2000 per tonne of broomstick was also denounced during the rally.
“The appointment of mahalders is a diversion from normal procedure of collection of tax on broomstick and is a ploy of GHADC to snatch little annual earnings of farmers. The selfish mahalders are synonymous with dacoity who use force and gundas to suppress and oppress the poor and marginal farmers.
The imposition of heavy tax on broomstick at Rs 2000 per tonne of broomstick is nothing but just like snatching a plate of rice from farmers who exist hand to mouth.
The market rate of dried broomstick is just Rs 30,000 per tonne, whereas in order to produce 1 tonne of broomstick, farmers have to bear a huge expenditure,” the association said.
“The Grade 2 employees of state government earn an annual income of around Rs 7-8 lakh and their professional tax is mere Rs 3000 per annum whereas, farmers who produce 2 tonne earns Rs 60000 per annum and have to pay Rs 4000 as tax. This is a great imbalance and injustice to rural poor and destitute section of society,” they added.
The association also claimed that the issue of money receipt by mahalder in lieu of transit pass or road challan is worthless in Assam and that they are often harassed by Assam police and Forest Department in this connection.
The association while pointing out that GHADC was undergoing acute financial problems questioned the logic behind the settlement of Jharu Mahal for a mere Rs 341000 to a private party when its Forest Department have been known to submit Rs 670000 for year 2017-18 from Kharkutta Range.
The association has decided to seek the intervention of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and District Council affairs Minister James K Sangma.

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