From Our Correspondent
MANGALDAI, January 16: A department of the state government in Darrang district has earned a total revenue of Rs 8 crore in the year 2014. But shockingly, this department in the district has been functioning without a head for the last seven years.
This department is none other than the office of the Superintendent of Excise. This office in the office complex of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here has been functioning without the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent of Excise since quite a long period. Besides the shortage of the officers and the staff, the Excise department here has no official vehicle of its own to continue their operation against the illegal wine dealers and the illicit country liquor dens that have grown up like mushrooms in every nook and corner of the district.
It seems that the State government is only concerned on collection of revenue from the Excise department than controlling the illicit trade of liquor.
The Deputy Superintendent of Excise in Udalguri who has been functioning as the Superintendent there has also been entrusted with the additiol charge of the in–charge Superintendent of Excise in Darrang as the government also failed to appoint even a Deputy Superintendent in Darrang district thereby allowing the illicit wine traders a free hand to continue their trade.
According to reports, the excise department in Darrang district has collected an amount of Rs. 4, 42, 95,139.00 as Excise duty and Rs. 3, 61, 93,843.00 as the Value Added Tax (VAT) from the month of April to December, 2014. In the month of December, 2013, the department had collected an amount of Rs. 41, 43,892.00 as Excise Duty and Rs. 34, 00, 724 as VAT. But in the month of December, 2014 the department was successful in increasing the Excise duty up to 24.55%. The department has collected an amount of Rs. 51, 61,143.00 as Excise Duty and Rs. 42, 64, 785.00 as VAT from eight numbers of wine shops and four numbers of Bars in Mangaldai Town, two wine shops and one Bar in Sipajhar, Four number of wine shops at Kharupetia town and the lone Bonded Warehouse of the district at Kharupetia town. On the contrary, this important department has been functioning with the in charge Superintendent of Excise assisted by only four numbers of Excise Inspectors, five numbers of Assistant Inspector of Excise and eighteen numbers of constables. Of these limited staff, one Excise Inspector, One Assistant Inspector of Excise and one Excise constable have been engaged in the Bonded Ware house at Kharupetia.
At the same time, due to non availability of the departmental vehicles, in most cases, the Excise officials were compelled to arrange the vehicles required for conducting raids at their own expense.
Meanwhile, there are reports of an unholy nexus between some Excise officials and traders of the illicit liquor, be it India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) or the country liquor. It is also significant to note that due to non–availability of a permanent office complex, the Excise office here in Mangaldai was given accommodation in six different places in the last twenty years. Of late, the district administration has made the arrangement for their office in the office building of the erstwhile District Treasury.