The collection had crossed Rs. 74 lakh in the last seven months

The Madurai airport has been operating flights to a sole international destination — Colombo — for the last 14 months until it got connected to Dubai on Friday.

Yet, revenue earned by Central Board of Excise and Customs through levy of customs duty on valuables carried by inbound passengers has increased exponentially.

According to informed sources, the Customs officials had collected a duty of Rs. 26 lakh from the day of introduction of the first international flight from here to Colombo on September 20 last year to March 30 this year. But the revenue nearly tripled in the last seven months with the officials having collected Rs. 74 lakh from April 1 to November 21 this year.

Confirming the figures, Joint Commissioner of Central Excise and Customs A.S. Meenalochani said that the entire credit for augmentation of revenue should go to her team of officials for the strict vigil maintained by them and Commissioner S. Faheem Ahmed for his guidance. She said that no stone had been left unturned to ensure that the public exchequer gets to earn maximum revenue.

“Most of the revenue has been earned by levying duty on gold jewellery brought by passengers from Colombo on the pretext of attending marriage ceremonies and so on. Even today (Wednesday) we collected Rs. 1.5 lakh from a single passenger. The duty is levied on liquor bottles and electronic goods also. I hope the amount would go up further following the recent connectivity to Dubai,” she said.

As per norms, a person of Indian origin, who has resided in a foreign nation for over one year, was eligible to bring gold and silver jewellery worth up to Rs. 50,000 without any customs duty in case of a male passenger and Rs. 1 lakh in case of a female passenger. Those who had resided for more than six months and less than one year cannot claim such exemption. They must pay customs duty.

In case of goods other than gold and silver, the passengers who had stayed in a foreign nation for more than five days were eligible to bring without customs duty goods worth Rs. 35,000 including a laptop but not television. Compulsory duty was being levied on television since August this year. The duty free limit for those who return from foreign countries within three days of stay was Rs. 15,000.

“While most of the duty is collected from frequent travellers involved in trading of valuable goods, I have planned to publicise the information widely so that innocent passengers do not end up paying duty due to ignorance. Information boards would be kept inside the airport for sensitising the passengers,” Ms. Meenalochani said.

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