Though gold smuggling through the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery has been hogging headlines, there has been a “phenomenal” increase in the gold brought in through legal channels by passengers from the Gulf countries, say Customs authorities.

Figures from September till December (till Wednesday) show that about 84 kg of gold valued at Rs. 2,172 lakh was legitimately imported by passengers through Nedumbassery airport, for which a duty of Rs.230 lakh was levied on them.

In comparison, gold weighing 31 kg valued at Rs.905 lakh was seized from passengers who tried to smuggle the yellow metal through the airport during this period. While 62 kg of gold worth Rs.1,553 lakh has so far been imported legally by passengers during this month up to December 11, there was no seizure of smuggled gold during this period, which pointed to the efficacy of anti-smuggling measures adopted by the Air Intelligence Unit of Customs posted at the Cochin International Airport, said S.A.S. Navaz, Deputy Commissioner of Customs, in a release.

In comparison only 12 kg of gold was imported through legal channels in November, and even smaller quantities during the previous two months.

Of the 11.21 kg of smuggled gold seized during November, 10.98 kg was found in the possession of 54 Sri Lankan nationals. About 20 kg of gold had been seized in September and a miniscule quantity in October.

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