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141 persons arrested, 446 kg ‘charas’ seized by Excise dept

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Jammu, Feb 04: As many as 141 persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in illicit trade, while 446 kilogram of ‘charas’ was seized by the Excise department during the current fiscal, an official spokesman said on Tuesday.

The department has also collected a revenue of Rs 1,832 crore by levying excise duties and toll tax, he said.

The spokesman said the information was given at a high-level meeting chaired by the Financial Commissioner, Finance, Arun Kumar Mehta, to review performance and working of the department here.

The meeting was informed that the department conducted 4,263 raids during the current fiscal, arresting 141 persons involved in illicit trade, he said.

He said the department destroyed poppy and cannabis cultivation on an aggregate of about 252.9 hectares of land besides seizing 446 kg of charas, 826 kg of polythene, 4,625 bottles of prescribed drugs with imposition of a fine of Rs 55.62 lakh till December 2019.

“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. After the abolition of toll tax on New Year’s Day, the department is imposing excise duty besides looking after seven distilleries, three 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 and K,” the spokesman said.

Addressing the meeting, Mehta emphasised the officers of the department to show zero tolerance towards cultivation and sale of narcotics in the Union Territory.

He also 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 posterity,” Mehta said and asked the officers to make sincere efforts and use satellite imagery and other modern technology to effectively deal with this challenge.

He underscored the need for developing a permanent structure of information sharing mechanism with organisations like the Narcotics Bureau.

Mehta also 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 and K’s policy for better results.

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