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Allegations of extortion from fish trucks on toll plaza

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From Our Correspondent

NONGPOH, July 6: The Hynniewtrep Live Fish and Fish Seeds Suppliers’ Association has alleged that a group of people has been extorting money from vehicles transporting fish from Assam into the state over the past few days under the pretext of checking challans.
Spokesperson of the association, Aristone Manbha Ryndongsngi told The Shillong Times on Saturday that members of an unidentified group have been stopping vehicles transporting live fish from Assam at the toll plaza at Pahammawlein in Ri-Bhoi and demanding Rs 3,000 from each vehicle without necessary documentation.
According to Ryndongsngi, drivers informed the association’s members about the alleged daylight looting. When members of the association arrived at the scene, the extortionists had already left.
The vehicles were later pursued again near Umtrew on National Highway 6, where the same group allegedly demanded Rs 2,000 from the drivers since they did not have challans.
Ryndongsngi also mentioned that in Assam, a group known as the Assam Fish Suppliers’ Union from Morigaon has been demanding money from vehicles transporting fish to Meghalaya. “This situation has shocked us. We cannot identify those involved right now, but if you (those people involved) engage in this kind of activity, we urge you to stop. As an association that has served the people for a long time, if we are pushed to our limits, we will have no option but to seek legal remedies,” Ryndongsngi stated while terming those engaged in this illegal activity as “parasites”.
Based on inputs from the drivers, the illegal collection of money involves a certain number of individuals. It is unclear whether these people belong to a specific group or are acting individually, as no receipts have been issued.
Ryndongsngi noted that even if drivers in Assam paid for the challan, the cost would be passed on to local fish suppliers in the state. “Indirectly, we are bearing the cost of the challan,” Ryndongsngi said, while adding that they did not know that challan was required for transporting fish.

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