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Chagolia pops up in budget

Dhubri, Aug. 19: The proposal to construct the state-of-the-art Chagolia checkgate featured once again in the 2014-15 budget presented by chief minister Tarun Gogoi last week.

In 2005, the Supreme Court passed an order directing the Assam government to construct two inter-state composite checkgates at Srirampur in Kokrajhar and Chagolia in Dhubri to stop evasion of taxes and provide facilities to the truckers.

In fact, the state government had moved to implement the order and in 2009 the checkgate at Srirampur was completed.

However, nine years have passed since the court order, yet work at Chagolia could not be started owing to land litigation.

An official source said a composite checkgate was proposed to come up at Chagolia comprising offices, parking space, guesthouse, ATM, cafeteria, PCOs, medical store, weigh bridge and petrol depots as one constructed in Srirampur in Kokrajhar.

“A total of 169 bighas had been acquired by paying compensation to land owners for the checkgate. But a few of them filed cases in Gauhati High Court against acquisition of their land and thus the construction got delayed,” a senior official in the district administration said.

The secretary of Dhubri-Golokganj Truck Owners’ Association, Azizur Hussain Khan, said Chagolia was one of the two busiest entry points to Assam but the project got delayed for years resulting in loss of state exchequers and harassment of truckers.

“Another method of evading the taxes is to show the destination of the goods as some other states of the Northeast as the tax department of Assam cannot collect tax on the goods meant for other states of the region. These sorts of tax evasion can be stopped effectively if the composite checkgate comes up at Chagolia along with all other facilities as proposed,” Khan added.

However, a source in Chagolia told this correspondent that litigation over the land was resolved recently and work would start soon.