The Meghalaya government has directed the autonomous district councils (ADCs) in the state to immediately shut down all toll gates set up by them along the national highways (NH) and state highways (SH), a minister said.
Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier this month spoken to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on the affairs of the ADCs, their failure to submit utilization certificates (UCs), and the need to shut down all illegal toll gates set up by the tribal councils along the NH and state highways.
District Council Affairs (DCA) Minister Lahkmen Rymbui who attended a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma with the representatives of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC), said the state government has issued directions to the Councils on the matter.
Rymbui told reporters on Thursday that the state government has not questioned the authority of the ADCs to collect tax under their respective jurisdictions but has pointed out that they are not empowered to set up such toll gates along the NH and state highways.
”We have asked them (Councils) to close down all toll gates immediately and the JHADC and KHADC representatives have agreed to do that,” he said. The minister said that records are not available as to when the ADCs have started operating the toll gates. ”Our point of contention is that the ADCs are not empowered by the law for any collection along the national highways and state highways,” he added. Rambus said that the constraints faced by the ADCs and their failure to submit utilization certificates of various developmental initiatives were also discussed during the meeting and the government has assured to extend all possible help within the parameters of the law.