Central Board of Excise and Customs employees protest against move to shift office to Guwahati

Shillong, June 5: Hundreds of employees of the Central Board of Excise and Customs today staged a protest against the move to shift the chief commissioner’s office and cadre controlling authority from Shillong to Guwahati.

The staff, under the banner of Meghalaya Staff Welfare Committee of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax, assembled in their office premises and aired their opposition against the move to shift the office from Shillong. They said that Shillong has been the headquarters of the Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax since its inception in the Northeast in 1948.

According to the staff, the move to shift the Chief Commissioner’s office could be because of the re-organisation of the field formation in the coming goods and service tax (GST) regime.

The staff have also approached Meghalaya Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma besides leaders of various political parties including the BJP, NPP and MPs from the Northeast to support them not to shift the office to Guwahati.

They also informed that though the Shillong Commissionerate was bifurcated by creating the Diburgarh Commissionerate in 2002, and Guwahati commissionerate in 2008, but the Chief Commissioner office was stationed in Shillong.

The Cadre Controlling Authority of customs, central excise and service tax for the entire Northeastern zone also has been stationed in Shillong since 1952, and the agitating employees said that after more than 65 years of existence, they cannot accept and it is not fair to shift from Shillong to Guwahati along with the Chief Commissioner’s office.

Moreover, they said that the Meghalaya government had also allotted a plot of 15 acres land in 2015 for the construction of the office of the Chief Commissioner, Shillong zone, and Commissioner of central excise and service tax at the new Shillong township, Mawdiangdiang.

“Though officers and staff of Shillong zone are likely to be dislocated in the coming GST regime, the move to shift the established organisation of the Chief Commissioner’s office and Cadre Controlling Authority to Guwahati will further aggravate the problems of officers and staff of around 200 families,” employees said.

They said that altogether, there are 195 officers and staff of all grades and 65 casual workers who have been working for the last 10 years or more with the hope that they would be absorbed in the department as multi-tasking staff.

They observed that the hope of casual workers of being permanent employees would be shattered in their middle age, as they have no other option left, because by this time, their aspirations of getting a job in any other department is already barred because of age.
The staff also said that in matrilineal society, women have big responsibilities for their family and the move to shift the office to Guwahati would affect them and their children.

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