‘Illegal’ collection of tax along National Highway-6 by the Meghalaya transport department by setting up weighbridges ‘without’ obtaining permission from the Centre has come to light.
The development came to light following a reply made in the Parliament by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways – Nitin Gadkari.
In his reply to a question by Shillong MP Vincent Pala, Gadkari mentioned the number of weighbridges being set up along NH-6 without “access permission” except for the weighbridge cum check post at Umtyra.
Four out of five weighbridges, “have not been granted permission”.
Gadkari informed the Lok Sabha that the Ministry of Transport and Highways had written to the Meghalaya government to get “access permission”.
Gadkari also said that the Centre has apprised the Meghalaya Government about the damages along the National Highway such as blockages of drains/culverts due to construction work of weighbridges and check-posts on NH-6.
The National Highway 6 starts from its junction with NH-27 in Assam near Jorabat and passes via Shillong, Dhaleshwar, Kanpui, Aizwal, Selling, Lumtui, Khawthlir, Tuisen, Neihdawn, Champai and Zokhawthar in Mizoram.
Thousands of goods-laden trucks and other commercial vehicles ferrying essential pass through the NH-6 in Meghalaya.
They have to make their way through such ‘illegal’ weighbridges and pay money to the collectors.
According to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Meghalaya Government has been requested on several occasions to repair the damages in order to avoid inconvenience and any road safety issue for plyers.
To another question asked by Pala on the need to order a CBI inquiry to find out officials, if any, involved in grating such permission, Gadkari said that the matter has been taken up with the Meghalaya government.
Meghalaya has been in the news when the Bailley Bridge of the NHAI ‘collapsed’ thrice within four months of its inauguration.
Meanwhile, Shillong MP Vincent Pala has demanded an inquiry into the ‘illegal’ setting up of weighbridges and initiating action against those involved.
The Shillong MP also demanded removal of all ‘illegal’ weighbridges set up by the Meghalaya Government on the NH-6.
“These weighbridges collect taxes from the truckers plying on NH-6 from all over the country. At entry and exit points of the state, truckers have to pay. Therefore, these illegal weighbridges should not exist,” Pala said.