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Beirut explosion: CBIC initiates drive to dispose seized goods as precautionary measure

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 12, 2020 Published on August 12, 2020

Over 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being moved from a container freight station near Chennai to Hyderabad   -  THE HINDU

Drive will continue till August 15

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Custom (CBIC) has launched a drive to clear un-claimed/ uncleared/ seized/ confiscated goods. This drive will continue till August 15.

“Special care would be taken to confirm that till their disposal all such goods as well as other goods that may become ripe for disposal later, are kept safely and securely (including safe from fire) and do not present any danger to life or property,” CBIC said in a circular. Further, it must be positively ensured that no such goods, ripe for disposal, are held up in any Customs station beyond the prescribed timelines.

The drive gains importance in the wake of Beirut’s ammonium nitrate blast on August 4. It resulted in the death of over 200 citizens, injuring over 5,000 persons and leaving nearly 3 lakh people homeless. The accident led to attention on nearly 700 tonnes of the chemical lying in a container freight station near Chennai after seizure in 2015 under the Customs Act 1962. It has already been e-auctioned and after political hue and cry, now being taken to Hyderabad.

The CBIC’s circular said, the Commissioner of Customs will undertake safety audit in co-ordination with the Pollution Control Board/Fire Safety Department or any other competent authority and cause the custodian to undertake all the sufficient measures to ensure safe storage and handling of hazardous and explosive materials in a Customs area. The board has made it clear that the procedure for disposal is in a manual published last year and the timeline was drawn in a circular of 2018.

According to the circular, several instances have come to notice of the Board regarding the pending disposal of such goods including some that are hazardous and explosive in nature. The expeditious disposal of such goods that are ripe for disposal is required not only to safeguard revenue at the earliest but also to prevent loss of revenue due to any untoward incident such as theft or pilferage.

“Expeditious disposal of goods that are of hazardous or explosive nature is especially necessary to prevent any damage to life and property that may arise. Needless to state, till the un-claimed/un-cleared/seized/confiscated goods are disposed as per law, they need to be kept securely and safely in accordance with all extant instructions,” the circular said.

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Published on August 12, 2020
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