Friday, October 11, 2013

Chennai Custom House Agents stage demo

With a view to drawing the attention of the top brass of Chennai Customs Commissionerate over undue delay in processing import bills, hundreds of representatives and field-staff of Chennai Custom House Agents staged an attention-seeking demonstration on Oct. 7.

The representatives were forced to stage a demonstration in front of the Chennai Customs Commissionerate gate, as the processing of import bill by the Chennai Customs officials has now been prolonged to a week against the earlier practice of a maximum 48 hours.

According to a CHA representative, who participated in the token attention-seeking demonstration, officials of the Chennai Customs are deliberately delaying the process due to different reasons.

Speaking to Sagar Sandesh, the representative said: “Though the Commissionerate is among the few in the country, which gets good revenue year after year, shortage of field officers for verifying imported containers and processing those bills has brought the whole process to a standstill.

It may be worth recalling here that the Chennai Customs Commissionerate’s revenue collection (including both sea and air) remains at around Rs. 20, 000 crores annually over the past few years. And for the first six months (up to Oct. 9, 2013) in the current financial year, the Commissionerate had collected revenue of about Rs. 12, 606 crores.

“When they (Customs) get these much revenue from Chennai, why are they delaying the processing of verifying imported consignments and bills, which could eat into their revenue collections,” lamented another CHA representative.

Besides Air Customs, Chennai has more than 30 Container Freight Stations (CFSs) to cater to the demand of EXIM fraternity’s sea freight requirements.

However, shortage of designated officers has forced the Chennai Customs top brass to post a single officer for processing import bills in four or five CFSs. Due to such a commitment the Customs officials are unable to process more bills everyday and it has badly affected the whole process.

“We earnestly appeal to the Chief Commissioner of Customs to see our plight and appoint more officials at all CFSs, so that import segment does not suffer,” said the agitators.

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