The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) on March 17 lashed out at the Nagaland government for its silence over the ban imposed by the Khango-led NSCN (K) on the sale of tobacco products in the state.
The traders' body said it was shocked and disappointed by the utter silence of the state government even after a week the outfit imposed a ban on tobacco products in the state. It said the blanket ban on tobacco products that are legally sold after paying all due taxes will affect the livelihood of thousands of shopkeepers across districts in the state.
In a release, the DCCI opined that tobacco products should not be clubbed together with illegal drugs or alcohol which have already been banned in the state under the Nagaland Liquor Total Prohibition (NLTP) Act.
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It sought to point out that tobacco products are sold with the full knowledge and permission of the central and state governments. It added that while the central government earns maximum revenue from tobacco products, the state governments also get their share of GST from them.
Further, the DCCI said banning tobacco products will only lead to black marketing, an increase in their prices and ultimately a syndicate system as evidenced in the current implementation of the NLTP Act in the state.
It said the ball is in the court of the state government to make a firm decision whether the sale of tobacco products after paying all taxes is legal or illegal. It said it cannot remain complacent as the livelihood of tobacco product dealers and distributors and thousands of petty shopkeepers is at risk.
The DCCI demanded that the state government and its agencies must ensure that the tobacco product dealers and shopkeepers are not hassled because of the ban. It also appealed to the NSCN (K) to lift the ban in the interest of the state as a whole, especially the struggling business community.
The traders' body further cautioned the shopkeepers selling tobacco products to follow the COPTA guidelines and practice ethical trade. It said the selling of tobacco products near educational institutions and to minors should be off-limits.
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