GUWAHATI, June 10 � The Government of India will have to refund substantial amounts of money collected by the Central Excise Department from the tea industry since 2004 in violation of the rules.
The Central Excise Department started collecting education cess from the tea industry from 2004 and secondary and higher secondary education cess from 2007. The organizations representing the industry submitted repeated petitions to the government against the collection of such cess as the industry was of the view that such collection of cess was illegal.
Secretary of the Tea Association of Assam, Guwahati, D Deka told The Assam Tribune that following repeated pleas by the industry, the Director, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Department of Revenue of the Finance Ministry clarified that collection of such cess was not in accordance with the rules. The order further said that the tea gardens should stake claim before the Central Excise offices in their areas for getting refund of the cess collected so far. The clarification came way back in January this month, but till date, the gardens have not received any refund and most of the Central Excise offices are yet to issue necessary orders to give refund to the gardens and to stop collection of such cess.
Deka revealed that the TAI wrote to the Chief Commissioner, Central Excise, Shillong, last month to point out that following the clarification regarding the collection of education cess and cess for secondary and Higher Secondary Education, necessary orders should have been issued to the concerned offices to refund the cess collected so far, but that has not yet been done. The letter further said that the concerned offices should also be asked to stop collection of such cess immediately.