Harassment by Assam authorities in wine transportation alleged

ITANAGAR, July 21: The M/S Norphel Winery, based at Dirang in West Kameng district, has alleged Assam authorities of harassment while transporting the consignment of Kiwi wine from its winery to Khonsa town in Tirap district via Assam.

In a complaint letter addressed to the Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, a representative of the winery explained in detail the agony of how harassment started after the Assam excise officials detained the vehicle carrying Kiwi wine at Bogibeel, Dibrugarh on July 18 last.

“We had dispatched our consignment of Kiwi wine from a winery at Dirang to M/s East Beverages, Khonsa, following all the due procedures. The consignment has to be transported to Khonsa via Assam and it is not for sale within Assam. Such transportation is not a transport or move from one place to another within the state of Assam. We are transporting our materials through the National Highway that passes through Assam which is not an offence under Assam excise act 2000,” the representative wrote in the letter.

It was also made clear to the authorities that there is a distinction between transport from one place to another within the State of Assam and transport from one place to another place within the State of Arunachal Pradesh via Assam.

“We were not informed of the reasons for detention except accusing us of importing and transporting wine through Assam. We were also not informed what provisions of law have been violated by us so that we do not commit the mistake, if any, in future. On being asked, our representative Amlanjyoti Pegu who is from Dhemaji, Assam was abused, scolded and threatened to put them behind the bar,” the representation said.

“Having no option, we have submitted an application to the superintendent of taxes but the officer even refused to acknowledge the receipt of the same. If we have committed any penal abrasions, we are ready to abide by the provisions of law. But we are entitled to know the grounds for detention. Such long detention of our products is causing economic losses to us and hampering our business prospects,” they added.

Further the winery alleged that excise officials of Assam tried to extort by demanding money in lieu of releasing the vehicle.

“We did not agree with such corrupt practices, rather wanted to know if transporting the wine via Assam for our destination from Arunachal Pradesh to another place in Arunachal Pradesh violates any provisions of the Assam Excise Act to enable us to plug any shortcomings so that we do not face any such hurdle in future too,” stated the representative.

In the letter the winery made it clear that they have not violated any of the sections under Assam excise Act 2000 and Assam excise (Amendment) act 2018.

Further the seized vehicle with the materials have not been produced before the court and presently it is parked in a compound that belongs to a private party at Dibrugarh, they alleged.

The representative of the winery has appealed to chief ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Pema Khandu to look into the matter and take action against erring officials.

“The officials are creating hurdles in doing business and thereby hurting the local initiative of PM Narendra Modi. Also, such harassment disturbs the beautiful relationship between people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh,” they added.

Related posts