A DOCUMENTARY ON SALEM COMMISSIONERATE
SALEM one of the most primitive and ancient places in South Western Tamilnadu was formed as a Central Excise Division in the year 1957 under the Madras Collectorate. During that time the entire country was divided into four zones and the southern zone headquarters was at Madras controlling the entire southern region comprising the present area of the southern states Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra. In fact, Salem Division was one of the oldest Central Excise Divisions in South India. It was incepted in the year 1957. To begin with the Salem Division covered the then revenue district of Salem (which included the present Dharmapuri District), North Arcot and South Arcot Districts. In course of time, due to industrialization in the area more and more Central Excise Divisions were created.
[CLIPPINGS OF TAMILNADU MAP SHOWING SALEM HIGHLIGHTED with various industries clippings following till completion of narration till para 3 below]
The initial levy of Central Excise duties was on products such as Tobacco and various tobacco cultivation centres in Salem such as Edappadi, Thammampatti, Attur functioned as Multi-officer Ranges. Apart from tobacco, Matches, Cement and later on Cotton Yarn was also the main manufactured excisable product in the earlier period. Tobacco levy was in force till the year 1976. During those times almost all the excisable goods were under physical control and a departmental officer in the rank of Inspector of Sub-Inspector was in charge of each factory.
In the 1980s industrial revolution of sort took place in Salem with the Steel Authority of India getting launched. Mettur also became a major industrial centre with major companies M/s CHEMPLAST SANMAR, M/s MADRAS ALUMINIUM COMPANY, setting up their manufacturing units at Mettur. This led to various subsidiary industries coming up in Mettur area. The other important centres in Salem namely Namakkal (now a separate district) and Tiruchengode also saw significant industrial growth and launching of new industries with cement manufacturing plant of M/s India Cements Ltd leading the show. Seshayee Paper & Boards is also a major manufacturing unit in this area. In the 1990s various steel manufacturing units came up in this area apart from textile based industries.
Central Excise Division at Erode the main district in this Kongu region was formed in the year 1965. The agricultural town of Erode slowly climbed up the ladder of industrial revolution and is today one of the leading Textile centres of India with various spinning mills and fabric manufacturers and processors coming up in Erode in the last few decades. Apart from textiles along the river bed area of Bhavanisagar in Gobi and Sathiamangalam area, paper board manufacturing units were set up in the last few decades and sugar mills viz., Sakthi Sugars and Bannariamman Sugars coming up in Aapakoodal and Sathiamangalam respectively. Perundurai area of Erode district is poised for industrial growth with a Sipcot Industrial Estate set up for variety of manufacturing units such as M/s EID Parryware, M/s Rengaraaj Ispaat etc.
Mettupalayam Division was originally functioning at Coonoor and was named only as Coonoor Division catering mainly to the Tea industry in the Nilgiris mountains with Coonoor, Kotagiri, Ooty and Gudalur being the Range formations and Tea was also a principal commodity of excise levy. In the late 1990s due to the exemption provided to Tea industry the various range formations in the hills were shrinked and the division was brought down to Mettupalayam where various textile manufacturers, processors, paperboard and casting manufacturing units had come up.
In 1984 when Coimbatore Collectorate was carved out of Chennai Collectorate, the areas of Salem, Erode, Dharmapuri districts were also brought under the jurisdiction of Coimbatore Collectorate.
Salem remained as the highest Revenue yielding division in Coimbatore Collectorate and the industrial growth potential in Salem was first realized when a D.C. unit was formed in Salem during the year 1996 and proposal for formation of Salem Collectorate was mooted considering the heavy revenue potential and major industries functioning in this region.
The look out for the office building premises for Salem which was due for a Collectorate commenced and the proposal from TANSI which was functioning in Anaimedu, Salem for selling their land was finalised by the Member (P&V), Central Board of Excise & Customs, New Delhi who came to Salem personally for this purpose in the year 1997.
This office building at Anaimedu, Salem (clipping of river flowing adjacent to office) located adjacent to the banks of the river Thirumanimutharu, was constructed by CPWD as a novel and modern office building and the office building was ready for occupation in June 1999. The office building was inaugurated in a grand function by Shri. M.V. Reddy, Chief Commissioner, Madras in the presence of Shri. A.K.Mehta, Commissioner, Coimbatore and to start with the Salem Divisional office and the Salem city ranges were functioning in this office building.
[CLIPPINGS OF THE OFFICE BUILDING INAUGURATION IN 1999]
The long pending reorganization of Commissionerates was taken up by the Government in the year 2002 and as a result Salem Commissionerate was carved out of Coimbatore Commissionerate comprising the revenue districts of Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Nilgiris, part of Coimbatore district including Tirupur. The jurisdiction of Dharmapuri District was also brought under the control of Salem Commissionerate. The Salem Commissionerate started functioning since 1.11.2002 with five Divisions at Salem-I, II, Erode, Tirupur and Mettupalyam. Each division was functioning with 5 Ranges each.
[JURISDICTIONAL MAP OF SALEM COMMISSIONERATE]
The inauguration of Salem Commissionerate was taken up in a grand gala function on 16.11.2002, with the then Union Minister of State for Finance Shri. Gingee Ramachandran inaugurating the Commissionerate with Shri. A.K. Singh, Member, CBEC, Shri. P.T. Elangovan, then Member of Parliament and various dignitaries from trade and industry. While launching the Salem Commissionerate, the Minister stated that the area under Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Dharmapuri Districts are brought under the Salem Commissionerate area for better and efficient tax administration and to facilitate the trade and industry. Shri. N. Krishnamoorthy, Chief Commissioner, Coimbatore zone and Shri. N. Venkatagiri, Commissioner, Salem also addressed the huge gathering and the function came to an end.
[CLIPPINGS OF INAUGURATION OF SALEM COMMISSIONERATE]
Shri. Venkatagiri was the first Commissioner of Salem Commissionerate but soon left the department.
[Photo of Shri. Venkatagiri]
Shri. M. Dwivedi, Commissioner of Coimbatore Commissionerate was in charge of Salem Commissionerate for a year.
[Photo of Shri. Dwivedi]
For convenience of the Tirupur Exporters as requested by them, the Ministry/Board attached Tirupur division of Salem Commissionerate with Coimbatore Commissionerate in April 2003.
The construction of staff quarters adjacent to the office building was completed in July 2003 and Shri. N. Krishnamoorthy Chief Commissioner inaugurated the Central Excise staff quarters in a function held on 11-6-2003.
[photos of staff quarters inauguration]
The Independence day 2003 was celebrated on 15th August 2003 with Shri. R. Augustine Manohar, Joint Commissioner unfurling the national flag. Various competitions were held on the occasion and prizes were distributed to the winners.
[clippings of Independence day 2003]
Shri. Najib Shah took over as the full fledged commissioner of Salem Commissionerate in September 2003 and was in charge of the Commissionerate till September 2004. He set up the Information and Facilitation Counter in the office entrance and took various measures for uplifting the working condition of the Commissionerate during his tenure.
[Photos of Shri.Najib Shah inaugurating the Facilitation counter]
With the levy of fabric manufacturing and processing brought into force in april 2003 there was increased activity with large number of registrants brought under Central Excise levy with even special counters at headquarters opened for providing Central Excise registration immediately to the applicants.
To compensate the attachment of Tirupur Division with Coimbatore commissionerate, Erode-II division was formed since 1.11.2003 and this Commissionerate is functioning with Salem-I,II, Erode-I, II and Mettupalayam Divisions till date.
[Jurisdictional map revised/existings]
The Republic day 2004 was celebrated on 26th January 2004 and Excise day celebrations soon began with a grand function organized on 24th February 2004. Shri. Gopalarathnam, Chairman, Seshayee Paper & Boards was the chief guest and Shri. Radha, Managing Director, M/s Ran India Steels,-------------------- were the guests of honour. Revenue performance awards were presented to the highest tax payers and prizes distributed to staff who had participated in the various events.
In July 2004, the Commissionerate was under enormous pressure due to the exemption provided to textile sector including Yarn which was one of the main manufactured product in Salem Commissionerate. It is to the achievement of the Heads of office and the staff and the other commodity manufacturers such as Steel and Chemicals who contributed in this crucial juncture that even after exemption provided to textile sector, the Commissionerate was able to mop up over Rs. 400 crore revenue during 2004-05.
The Independence day celebrations were held at the Commissionerate headquarters on 15th August 2004.
The Chief Commissioner of Coimbatore zone Shri. J.M.K. Sekhar, alongwith Commissioners Shri.M. Dwivedi and Shri. S. Ramesh conducted a Service Tax Press Conference on 14.10.2004 to propogate voluntary compliance of service tax by the service providers. Wide publicity was also carried out towards spreading the levy of service tax imposed on variety of services.
In October 2004, Shri. S. Rajkumar took over as Commissioner, Salem and was in charge upto May 2006. He is now the Commissioner (Appeals\ of Salem Commissionerate. As administrator par excellence this soft spoken man took the Salem Commissionerate to path of growth and it was to his credit duly supported by the staff and trade that Salem Commissionerate achieved the revenue target set for the years 2004-05 and 2005-06 in spite of exemption provided to textile sector.
[Photos of Commissioner Shri. S. Rajkumar]
The Republic Day 2005 function was held on 26th January at Salem Headquarters. Shri. S. Rajkumar, Commissioner unfurled the national flag and a parade of uniformed officers was conducted by Shri. B. Balamurugan, Assistant Commissioner on the occasion.
[Photos of function]
The Excise Day 2005 function was held on 24th February 2005 at Salem Headquarters. Shri S.V. Balasubramaniam, chairman, Bannariamman Sugars was the chief guest and representatives from M/s Sakthi Auto Components and M/s SAIL were the guests of honour. A grand function was organized on the occasion. Revenue performance awards were presented to the highest tax payers and prizes distributed to staff who had participated in the various events.
[photos of excise day 2005]
Independence day 2005 was celebrated with traditional fervour on 15th August 2005 and Shri. S. Rajkumar, Commissioner unfurled the national flag. Children’s events were organized on the occasion and the Commissioner gave away prizes to the winners.
[Snaps of Independence day 2005]
The Hindi week celebrations were held from Sep 7 to 14th, 2005 and a grand valedictory function was organized with various cultural events in the show. Shri. B.K. Singh, Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) was the chief guest. Various competitions were held on the occasion and prizes distributed to the winners.
[Snaps of Hindi week celebrations 2005]
Republic day 2006 function was celebrated on 26th January 2006 and celebrated with traditional gaiety. Miss. B. Jayabalasundari, Assistant Commissioner, conducted a parade of uniformed officers on the occasion.
[Snaps of Republic Day 2006]
Excise day 2006 was held on 24th February 2006 in a grand gala function at Salem Headquarters Office. Shri. S. Rajkumar, Commissioner delivered the welcome address highlighting the reasons for celebrations of Excise day every year. Shri. B.A. Kumar, Executive Director, M/s Southern iron & Steel company was the chief guest and he gave a lengthy and thought provoking address. Shri. N. Rajamani, chairman, Sekhar Group of Companies and shri. S.K. Ganesan, M/s Balaji Rubber Industries, were the guests of honour and rendered their addresses on the occasion. Fancy dress competition for kids was held on the occasion and prizes distributed to the winners of various competitions held on the Excise day. A breathtaking performance of yoga by the children of the staff of the Commissionerate followed. Revenue performance award for the large tax payers was bagged by M/s SISCOL, for the medium scale sector by M/s Ponni Sugars, Pallipalayam and for the S.S.I. sector by M/s Ganesa Rubber Reclaimers. The meritorious children of the staff of this Commissionerate who had come out with flying colours in 10th and 12th standard exams were also presented with cash prizes and the prizes were presented by Shri. S. Ramesh, Commissioner (appeals). The function ended with a orchestra conducted by Rajmuneesh Orchestra and dinner catered by M/s Saravana Bhavan.
[Video clips of Excise day 2006]
In November 2005, the inaugural issue of “SHEVAROYS” the trilingual magazine of Salem Commissionerate was released by Shri. J.M.K. Sekhar, Chief commissioner, Coimbatore zone. It was for the first time that such an in-house magazine was being launched and there was overwhelming response from the staff by way of contribution of articles. In June 2006 the second issue of the in house magazine was launched and
From May 2006 Shri. S. Ramesh took over the reins of Salem Commissionerate and under his dynamic leadership the Commissionerate is functioning towards excellence. During his tenure in Salem both as Commissioner (appeals) and as Commissioner, the importance and usage of Hindi gained predence and various promotional measures such as conducting of Hindi Workshop, training for officers in usage of common hindi words, training of usage of hindi phonetic software etc. The Hindi Week celebrations in the year 2005 and 2006 saw a new high with very good participation from the staff and a grand function held to mark the Hindi week celebrations. Shri. B.K. Singh, Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) was the chief guest for the Hindi Week celebrations in the year 2005 and Shri. Venkatasubramanian, Hon. Professor of Sona College of Technology was the guest of honour.