Author: Paul Ploumis
08 Oct 2014 Last updated at 08:34:17 GMT
MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): Gold seizure at Chennai International Airport during the initial nine months of the current year has touched record highs. The Airport Intelligence Unit (AIU) under the Customs Department has seized gold worth 71 crores so far this year. This is when compared with the gold seizures worth 51 crores during the entire year 2013. In a bid to fight the increasing incidents of gold smuggling, India Customs has decided to double its manpower at the airport.
The Air Customs Department has begun a special training session to educate the staff on new methodologies to identify suspicious moves by passengers. The session focuses on imparting soft skills and increasing competence. The Department has already opened passenger help desk at Arrival Lounge of the airport. A similar help desk would be set up soon at the Departure Terminal. According to Customs, customer feedbacks indicate that good majority of passengers are unaware of rules.
The Department has also published a guide to travelers who arrive at the airport. The book explains the baggage rules applicable for residents and tourists, details of prohibited and restricted goods, special allowances for passengers and a brief outline of penalties imposed on violators of these rules.
The airport has 111 inspector-level staff presently. But it is reported that the manpower is insufficient to carry out its day-to-day operations. Gold smuggling acts are seen increasing on a daily basis. Smugglers are seen inventing novel techniques to sneak in gold into the country. There were a few incidents where ground staff and duty police personnel were involved in smuggling attempts.