Indians protest as Nepal slaps cess on incoming vehicles

September 27th, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj PartyKathmandu, Sep 27 (IANS) Protests have begun erupting on the India-Nepal border as the Nepal government began slapping an entry cess on Indian vehicles entering the Himalayan republic.The Bahujan Samaj Party of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati led the demonstrations Thursday in the Dasjagga area in Sunauli-Maharajgunj and stopped all vehicular traffic for three hours to protest the entry tax.

The protests were also taken up by local chambers of commerce in India and a local organisation, the Hindi Yuva Vahini.

The new tax was declared by Nepal’s Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai when he unveiled the Maoist government’s first budget earlier this month.

However, the clause went unnoticed in the long budget speech and came to public notice only this week when Nepali authorities began slapping the entry tax on Indian vehicles.

According to the new budgetary provisions, trucks, pickups and tractors entering India for a day would have to pay NRS 904, cars and minibuses NRS 452 while two-wheelers would have to pay NRS 113.

In addition, all the incoming Indian vehicles would also have to pay 13 percent VAT on the cess.

Protesters have submitted a memorandum to police authorities at the Nepali border town of Rupandehi, asking for the tax to be withdrawn.

They are also asking for action against the alleged extortion from Indian vehicle owners at the Nepali side and demanding security for drivers and their helpers.

The protesters say that Nepali cars entering India temporarily do not have to pay any such tax.

According to a pact signed by India and Nepal in 1950, the two neighbours are committed to treat each other’s citizens as their own. The tax violates the India-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950.

However, the new Maoist-led government of Nepal says it wants all bilateral pacts with India to be scrapped or reviewed.

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