GUWAHATI, Sept 16 (PTI): The Customs sleuths have seized various goods worth Rs 110 crore in 710 operations in North East since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country and the region, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Addressing a webinar on ‘Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond’ organized by industry chamber FICCI, Commissioner of Customs (North East) G M Kamei said their officials are conducting raids in coordination with other departments.
“During the COVID-19 period, we have successfully conducted 710 operations and seized goods worth Rs 110 crore,” he said at the webinar by FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE).
The customs officers are working in close coordination with Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Assam Rifles and various state police to make the task of smugglers difficult, Kamei said.
Debajyoti Dutta, Secretary of Assam’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, said: “The criminals indulging in smuggling and counterfeiting activities are promoting crime and economic instability, and the consumers are bearing the brunt of it.”
The menace of illicit trade is to be dealt in a dedicated and systematic manner with concerted efforts from all central and state enforcement agencies along with the paramilitary forces, he added.
Lauding the efforts of the sleuths from various agencies, FICCI CASCADE Chairman Anil Rajput said, “The enforcement officials have relentlessly pursued the smugglers and counterfeiters in the North East and over the last few months, seized contraband and illicit cigarettes, liquor, drugs, currency and consumer goods.”
On September 6, the FICCI CASCADE had said that the recent rise in smuggling in North East could be attributed to economic distress caused by COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in loss of jobs and lack of income due to recurrent lockdowns.