CNF blocks trade route to protest tax rise

Jul 22, 2008 (DVB), The Chin National Front claims it has blocked access to the India-Burma trade route (2) between Rid town in Chin state and the Indian border state of Mizoram, halting the flow of trade.

CNF military coordinator Pu Solomon told DVB that transportation between the two areas has stopped almost completely with no vehicles travelling on the route apart from a few convoys which were provided with security by the military.

"We are doing this at the request of traders in the region because authorities in Mizoram decided to increase the tax collected from traders who already have to pay a lot of tax to the Burmese authorities and that left them with no profit," said Pu Solomon.

"We will reopen the route when Mizoram authorities agree to reduce the tax to the usual amount."

Pu Solomon said the CNF has strictly prohibited vehicles from accessing the route and those who do not comply with their rules will be severely punished.

He added that the CNF itself has been collecting tax from the border trading businesses in the area, but has only taken 3 percent of their profits.

The CNF has previously blocked the route when Mizoram authorities increased the tax on border traders, but reopened it after Mizoram agreed to reduce the tax.

Reporting by Khin Maung Soe Min

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