Financial Commissioner, Finance, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Tuesday emphasised the officers of Excise department to show zero tolerance towards cultivation and sale of narcotics in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Mehta was speaking at a review meeting of the J&K Excise department.
Additional Secretary, Finance, Vishal Sharma; Deputy Excise Commissioner (Executive) Kashmir, Tahir Ajaz; Deputy Excise Commissioner (Executive) Jammu, Amarjeet Singh; DEC Distilleries, Ranjeet Singh; DEC Accounts, Bharat Singh Manhas; Principal Excise Training Institute, Nagrota, Ankur Mahajan and Additional Secretary Legal, Mohd Ayaz were present in the meeting. All the Excise and Taxation Officers from both the divisions participated in the meeting through video conferencing.
Financial Commissioner directed the officers to take the task of curbing the drug menace in an absolute mission mode.”It is our moral, ethical and social responsibility to nip this evil completely for the sake of the posterity”, he maintained. He asserted that youth is the greatest capital of any society and we can’t allow our youngsters to go haywire.
Dr Mehta asked the officers to make sincere efforts and use satellite imagery and other modern technology to effectively deal with this challenge. In this regard, he suggested for taking full advantage of information and data available with other government departments. He underscored the need for developing a permanent structure of information sharing mechanism with organisations like Narcotics Bureau etc.
The FC suggested the officers to go through the excise policies being implemented in other parts of the country so that necessary amendments could be brought in J&K’s Policy for better results. He asked the department to make inter-department transfers between Excise and State Taxes departments a regular feature for promoting a transparent and effective system.
He directed the concerned to equip every district with the necessary enforcement infrastructure as per the requirements. He assured of extending full support in terms of providing the requisite men and machinery for making the results visible on the ground.
The meeting was informed that during the current fiscal the department has collected a revenue of about Rs. 1,104 crore by way of levying excise duties and Rs. 728 crore by way of toll tax.
It was further informed that the department conducted 4,263 raids during this period arresting 141 persons involved in illicit trade. Besides, the department has destroyed poppy and cannabis cultivation on an aggregate of about 5000 Kanal of land besides seizing 446 Kg of Charas, 826 Kg of polythene, 4,625 bottles of proscribed drugs with the imposition of a fine of Rs 55.62 lakh till December 2019.
Pertinently, after the abolition of toll tax, the department is imposing excise duty besides looking after 7 distilleries, 3 breweries and 12 bottling plants with the manpower of 260 persons presently working in the department. It is also enforcing strict vigil and surveillance over illicit trade of narcotics and bootlegging across J&K.