ITANAGAR, 21 Jul: The M/S Norphel Winery, based in Dirang, West Kameng district has alleged the Assam authorities of harassment while transporting a 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 Norphel Winery explained in detail the agony of how the harassment started after the Assam excise officials detained the vehicle carrying kiwi wine at Bogibeel, Dibrugarh on 18 July.
“We had dispatched our consignment of kiwi wine from a winery at Dirang to M/s East Beverages, Khonsa, Tirap district following all the due procedures. The consignment has to be transported to Khonsa via Assam and it is not for sale within the state of 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 the state of Assam, which is not an offense under the 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 being accused 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 the future. On being asked, our representative Amlanjyoti Pegu, who is from Dhemaji, Assam was abused, scolded, and threatened of being put behind bars.
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 Norphel 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, and 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 the future,” said the representative of Norphel Winery.
In their letter, the Norphel Winery made it clear that they have not violated any of the sections under the Assam Excise Act, 2000 and Assam Excise (Amendment) Act, 2018.
Further, the seized vehicle, with the materials, has not been produced before a court of law and it is presently parked in a compound that belongs to a private party at Dibrugarh, they alleged.
The representative of Norphel Winery has appealed to chief ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam and Pema Khandu of Arunachal Pradesh to look into the matter and take action against the 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.