Customs officials get to know postings after reporting to work
After three years of inaction, the Mumbai customs authorities have finally worked on a proposal suggesting that the postings of officials at respective modules at the international airports should be announced only after they report for duty.mumbai Updated: Jun 13, 2011 00:59 IST
After three years of inaction, the Mumbai customs authorities have finally worked on a proposal suggesting that the postings of officials at respective modules at the international airports should be announced only after they report for duty.
This has been done in an attempt to reduce attempts to smuggle contraband through customs. The customs officials work in four different batches, with two on-duty from 8am to 8pm and the other two from 8pm to 8am. They are posted in different modules.
Earlier, the shifts and exact postings of batches were announced much in advance.
However, smugglers were keeping watch on the duty roster of the airport customs staff and avoided arriving with contraband on the day and time an upright and alert official was posted at the arrival unit.
This modus operandi had prevailed for some time, when, three years ago, this proposal was floated. However, the authorities did not act upon it and the smugglers started using this method again this year. During interrogation of some carriers of contraband recently, the customs authorities had found that the smugglers had accessed the duty schedule from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.
After the Hindustan Times, in its May 2 edition, reported about the duty roster being available to smugglers abroad and the delay on behalf of the customs in acting upon the proposal, the authorities finally took the required actions. From this month, the posting of the batches at respective modules at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is announced only after the officials report for duty.
“Now, though our day and night shifts are fixed in advance, but the module on which we would be posted is given only after we reach the airport and report for work,” a customs official said requesting anonymity. He added that this way, the smugglers wouldn’t come to know which batch is posted at the arrival unit and which at the departure.
“Earlier, the shift and even the module where a particular batch would be posted very announced much in advance. Hence the smugglers got the exact duty chart in advance and they planned their travel accordingly,” the official said.