New Delhi, Oct. 4
THE Union Government has closed the route for import of unshredded metal scrap from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. It has now stipulated that only shredded metal scrap can be imported from this port of shipment.
Any import of unshredded metallic scrap from certain specified ports such as Bandar Abbas should be treated as violation of foreign trade policy and stringent penal action should be taken, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has advised its field formations.
This is the fallout of CBEC's move to align the customs clearance procedures with the recent changes in the exim procedures effected by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), in respect of metallic scrap imports.
The DGFT had in mid-September stipulated that import of metallic scrap would be allowed only in shredded form from the ports listed under a specified list in the Handbook of Procedures.
So far, Bandar Abbas in Iran was the only port listed under the Handbook of Procedures from where only shredded metal scrap could be imported.
Besides advising the field formations that any import of metallic scrap in unshredded form from the specified list of ports should attract penal action, the Finance Ministry has also stipulated 100 per cent examination on consignments originating from the specified list of ports.
Industry sources said the port of Bandar Abbas was near strife-torn Afghanistan, and pointed out that the killer scrap that took 10 lives in Ghaziabad last year had originated from there.
Steel producers who use the induction furnace route and the steel furnace route mostly use scrap. According to Mr N.C. Mathur, Chairman of the Steel Furnace Association as well as the Stainless Steel Manufacturers' Association, "Closing this one route and that too for unshredded scrap will not have any significant impact on the producers. The steel industry to a large extent depends on domestic supply of sponge iron, which is also growing."