Thursday, 28 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: Burma’s border security force’s (Nasaka) subjective tax collection from goods transported along the Maungdaw-Taungbru water way and land road has pushed up prices of essential goods and travel fare in Maungdaw Township, said a trader from Maungdaw on condition of anonymity.

Nasaka personnel get inadequate salary to support their family members, so to cope they have been collecting arbitrary tax from traders, who carry goods from one place to another, said an aide of Nasaka who declined to be named.

The Nasaka of Pyigyi camp, which is established on the Naf river bank of Maungdaw town, collects Kyat 1,000 from one engine boat going to Taungbro from Maungdaw town as tax. They also collect Kyat 100 per passenger and Kyat 300 for a bag of 50 kg goods. The Pyigi Nasaka camp is controlled by Nasaka Headquarters of Kawarbill of Maungdaw Township, said a passenger, who once went to Taungbro from Maungdaw by boat.

There is another Nasaka check-post at Nagakura village  on the way to Taungbro from Maungadw town.  From this check-post, they collect Kyat 5,000 as tax from the boat owner. The market lessee or lease holder of Ngakura also collects Kyat 300 to 500 per 50 kg bag of commodities, said another passenger.

When the engine boat arrives at Taungbro, the Nasaka also collects Kyat 100 per 50 kg bag of goods as tax.

Because of Nasaka’s arbitrary collection of tax on goods, from passengers and engine boats, the boat owners and traders are compelled to increase their passenger fare and also increase price of goods to cover the expenditure on the way to Taungbro from Maungdaw Town, said another trader from Maungdaw Town.

Besides, the Nasaka has set up Nasaka check-posts in every village of Maungdaw-Taungbro road. Every driver from a car has to pay Kyat 1,000 when they cross it. As a result, passengers have to pay Kyat 2,000 to go to Taungbro from Maungdaw town as car fare while it was only Kyat 500 earlier.  A passenger has to pay Kyat 1,000 as car fare to go to Maung Nama village from Maungdaw Town, while it was only Kyat 300 earlier, said a local schoolteacher.  

When the passenger cars reach Nasaka Headguarters Gate, near Maungdaw-Bawli Bazaar road, all the Rohingya passengers have to get down from the car while non-Rohingya passengers are excluded. All the Rohingya passengers are checked by Nasaka whether they have recommendation letter from the authorities. The passengers are the villagers of Maungdaw Township, and they need village out-pass to go to Maungdaw Town.

If the passenger has three things such as---recommendation letter, photo and white Identity Card (ID) --- the passenger does not have to pay money to Nasaka. If the passenger has recommendation letter and photo, but has no ID, she/ he has to pay Kyat 500; if she/he has only ID, it has to pay Kyat 500; if the passenger has no photo and only recommendation letter and ID, he has to pay Kyat 500, a passenger from Maungdaw Town said. 

The Nasaka also check the body of passengers. If the passenger is a Rohingya woman, her body is also checked by male Nasaka personnel as there are no women personnel.  The Nasaka humiliates Rohingya women passengers, said a local elder from Maungdaw town who was an eyewitness.