Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Chennai, have seized 127 tonnes of e-waste imported from four foreign countries from a container terminal here.

C. Rajan, Additional Director General, DRI, Chennai, said they had received a tip-off that electrical and electronic waste was being imported on the pretext being used computers, through the Chennai port.

Five consignments from eight containers were taken up for scrutiny. While one each was imported from Australia, Brunei and Canada, two were from Korea.

Examination of goods in the containers revealed the presence of computer monitors, CPUs and processors, which were found to be very old, used and appeared to be in unusable condition.

Meant for recycling

A large number of the computer monitors were found to be more than 10 years old and were meant for recycling, Mr. Rajan said.

Chartered engineers, who examined the five consignments, stated that the consignments contained goods some of which were non-functional and those reusable items required extensive refurbishing, which would again generate more e-waste.

Purpose-built recycling plants under controlled condition and dumping area with a facility to treat hazardous waste and disposal were essential to prevent risk to human health and environment, he pointed out.

The import of electrical and electronic waste are covered under Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans-boundary Movement) Rules 2008 and would be allowed only with permission from the Ministries of Environment and Health besides a licence from the Director General of Foreign Trade. In the cases taken up for investigation, the importers were not in possession of the required permission, Mr. Rajan said.

The DRI has registered cases against the importers. In four cases notices have been issued to the importers.

The seized goods will be re-exported to their country of origin after due process of adjudication, Mr. Rajan added.