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PESHAWAR: Goods transporters and truck owners have protested against collection of a new tax from them by the local government department and warned that they will announce a province-wide wheel jam strike if the collection is not stopped forthwith.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club the other day, All Goods Transport and Truck Owners Federation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, president Khawaja Mohammad Mohmand said that the tehsil municipal administration (TMO) Town-IV, Peshawar, through private contractors had started collection of Rs300 per vehicle as marketing tax at four checkposts on Ring Road in Peshawar. He termed the collection of tax illegal and said it must be stopped immediately.

He said that the transporters were regularly paying various taxes, including permit, regional tax and token tax along with the new one of Rs300 per truck at different places in Peshawar.

He said that transporters were also paying Rs1,000 per vehicle as mining tax.

He said the Town-IV TMO Mr Saleem had said during a meeting with them that the tax was imposed by the local government secretary. He said the provincial government should stop the step-motherly attitude with the transporters otherwise they would not sit silent. He asked the authorities concerned to stop the collection of this ‘illegal’ tax and demanded replacement of the TMO and secretary local government immediately.

Accompanied by the federation’s Peshawar district president Rab Nawaz, Peshawar union president Fazal Karim and other office-bearers, Mr Khawaja said that the authority concerned didn’t take any notice despite their protest against the collection of the alleged ‘ghunda tax’ (extortion) at the Ring Road, Peshawar.

“The transporters are no more willing to pay the illegal tax which has no record and goes only into the pockets of some officials,” Mr Khawaja alleged. He added that traffic police on various routes were also extorting money from them in the name of loading and unloading tax, and urged the authorities to take immediate notice of the injustices and order probe into the matter.

He warned that if the tax was not withdrawn the transporters from Peshawar to Karachi would observe a wheel-jam strike.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2018