The Tehsil Municipal Authority (TMA) has closed down the entire parasailing site at Khanpur Dam due to nonpayment of fees by various service providers, including boat riders.
At the Khanpur dam, the TMA Khanpur has imposed a municipal tax on water activities. After the operators failed to pay the municipal fee, the TMA closed the picnic area and paragliding.
Some people imitating TMA officials allegedly collect tax from local boat operators and stall owners and offer them receipts. They claimed that instead of taking action against the phoney officials, the TMA closed down the entire paragliding area, putting hundreds of people out of work.
According to the local operators, a similar incident occurred in the past, and they were forced to go to court with receipts when TMA officials allegedly pressured them. The case is currently ongoing in court, according to the local operators, after the TMA ruled the invoices to be fraudulent.
According to the operators, the TMA has turned a blind eye to the phoney officials who collect the money in the TMA’s name. They inquired as to why TMA was not taking action against these individuals.
They claimed that the TMA Khanpur was not entitled to collect the cost, which included parking fees, because the land was owned by the Wapda and PWD, according to them. They claimed that this was due to the government’s complicity.
The boat owners stated that they have licences and that all records are in the hands of government departments. They claimed that despite paying taxes, they were being harassed by TMA authorities. They said that the TMA was putting unneeded obstacles in the way of thousands of people’s livelihoods.
Summer, they claimed, is when travellers from all over the country flock to the area, causing local businesses to blossom.
“They pay taxes to the TMA,” they claimed. It’s none of our business whether the receipts are genuine or not.”
“Those who are involved in this swindle should be prosecuted, and the local administration and TMA should stop ridiculing and abusing them,” they stated.
“We are actively collaborating with the district government and the police,” said Raja Hanif, “but for unknown reasons, we are being harassed under various pretexts and their employment places are being sealed after imposing large fines on us.”
“If someone engages in criminal activity while under the patronage of someone, we are not accountable.” Is it the district administration’s job to figure out who gives approval for criminal activity?
He went on to say that Khanpur pam entertained millions of tourists each year.
He claimed that hundreds of families ran businesses there to supplement their income. “We have already spoken out against illegitimate penalties and business closures, and we will do so again.”
He claimed that despite the fact that the property belonged to the federal government, WAPDA, and other ministries, they were paying all kinds of taxes on a regular basis. “In this regard, several cases were ongoing in various courts. We fully cooperate with the district administration, and we respectfully urge that the TMA refrain from harassing us with high penalties and taxes, as well as the closure of the picnic area? They should not be forced to take to the streets, he said.
Pir Ataullah Shah Nasir Khan is among the tourists. Tourists on the banks of Khanpur Dam were plundered with both hands, according to Zia Islam Hafiz Wajid Ali and others. Fritters were being sold for Rs500 per kg, according to them. They said that in the name of parking, a greater cost was also charged.
They suggested that the district administration declare a tax-free zone near the Khanpur Dam.
Meanwhile, at a meeting with a delegation from the Khanpur Boating Association and TMA authorities, Khanpur Tehsil Chairman Raja Haroon Sikandar stressed that the TMA management should not harass operators and local businesses. In collaboration with the Khanpur Boating Association, he asked the Tehsil Municipal Officer to take steps to remedy all legitimate complaints.