The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) in Hyderabad has been defying orders from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to remove check posts and stop collecting toll tax within the Cantonment limits. Despite the MoD’s orders being issued six months ago, the SCB authorities are still collecting toll tax from autos, four-wheelers, and vehicles carrying goods within the limits. According to SCB officials, if the toll tax counters are closed, the board will lose up to Rs 10 crore per year.
Residents have raised objections to the toll tax collection, stating that this practice has been going on without uniformity since 1965. After several protests held by residential welfare associations in September last year, the MoD issued orders to scrap toll tax in all 62 Cantonments across India to ensure smooth movement of goods. However, the SCB has disobeyed the order and is still continuing this process. There are currently 26 checkpoints within the SCB limits.
Social activist T Satish Kumar Gupta stated that he was forced to pay toll tax at the Paradise check post despite the MoD’s order to stop collecting toll tax. Many residents have raised objections and demanded that the SCB stop collecting toll tax, but their requests have been overlooked.
Residents are facing difficulties transporting their goods from other municipalities after questioning the authorities over tax collections. The orders were passed in January 2022, but the final resolution was passed in the SCB in September last year.
When questioned about their actions, a senior officer of SCB, speaking anonymously, stated that discontinuing toll tax collection would adversely affect SCB coffers. They have sent a proposal to not abolish toll tax collection in the SCB and are awaiting a reply from the MoD.