A huge consignment of illegal Chinese firecrackers worth Rs 7.2 crore was seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence Mumbai Zonal Unit at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Nhava Sheva. The Indian government had banned Chinese crackers in 2014.
This comes at a time when the demand for fire crackers will increase due to Diwali within a couple of months. The agency is trying to find out the source for the consignment.
“Four containers of the illegal cargo were being smuggled into India via the sea route. The shipment is valued at Rs 7.2 crores,” said an officer requesting anonymity. The crackers were found concealed inside parcels with fake names and addresses. It said the cargo contained ‘adhesive tapes’ and ‘badminton rackets’.
The officer said, “Firecrackers are restricted for import under the Foreign Trade Policy, 2015-2020. All firework falls under the category of restricted goods and can be exported or imported only in accordance with permission or a public notice issued in this behalf.”
Moreover, as per rules 7 and 10 (2) of the Explosive Rules, 2008, read with section 5 of the Explosives Act 1884, firecrackers can be imported only against a license issued by the Chief Controller of Explosives.
“In the case of the seized firecrackers, no one came forward with a license to clear the goods and these are apparently imported by wrongly declaring them in the Import General Manifest as ‘Adhesive Tapes’ and ‘Badminton Rackets’ with the intention of removing them in a clandestine manner,” said the officer.
The imported ‘Made in China’ fireworks were also banned by the Indian government in 2014, as they were deemed potentially dangerous. Most of these imported crackers are friction-sensitive and could easily explode if dropped and could injure people in the vicinity.
This led to a countrywide alert to prevent such products from being smuggled into the country.
Around two years ago, the Union ministry of Home Affairs had also issued an advisory to all chief secretaries of Indian states, cautioning them about the illegal smuggling of Chinese firecrackers, which often contain high doses of potassium chloride and the banned potassium chlorate, which can lead to fire incidents, added the source.