The country’s first customs heritage gallery representing a legacy of more than 2,000 years of trade and peopleto-people contact has come up at Attari. The inauguration of this photo gallery was done by chief commissioner of customs (preventive), Delhi, Manoranjan Kaur Virk on Monday. She emphasised on the key role played by the department and challenges being faced by it
“The gallery symbolises changes in the working of the customs department, which is one of the oldest revenue generating departments of the administration. The customs is the first line of defence and has protected our economy, environment, wildlife and heritage, including endangered species of flora and fauna, arts and antiquities,” said Virk.
The customs chief commissioner said by checking smuggling of narcotics and other psychotropic substances, the department preserves and promotes social well-being. “Today, however, we are facing bigger and multiple challenges, but even with our limited human, technological and other resources, we are trying to do our best,” she said.
“Smuggling of drugs is a big challenge, but we do not have enough resources to tackle it. The customs department need to be backed with better technology, as the smugglers are becoming more tech-savvy,” she said.
Virk said the department has made seizures of contrabands hidden in cavities under trains coming from Pakistan, and to tackle the problem, more manpower is required.
“We need full-body scanners, as the technology being used right now is not that mechanised. The Union ministry of finance knows about the challenges we are facing, and I am sure all our technological, infrastructural and manpower needs will be fulfilled soon,” she said
Virk said the gallery has been inaugurated at a place that lies on an ancient trade route (Grand Trunk Road). “Besides its historical significance, the place is also one of the most sensitive western frontiers of our country, which is zealously guarded by the army and paramilitary forces,” she said.
Amritsar customs commissioner Sanjay Gahlot said the second phase of the gallery, based on technological developments, will be inaugurated in a few months. He said the gallery will be open for tourists visiting the evening retreat ceremony.