TW Newsdesk, Nov 25: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman exhorted customs officials, today, at the country’s largest container port JNPT to ensure adequate publicity for the destruction of narcotics.
The finance minister, who was on a visit to the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), also urged customs officials to aim for ‘zero daily assessment pendency’ and faster release of cargo, an official statement said.
The comments come weeks after the confiscation of a very large quantity of narcotics substances at JNPT’s biggest competitor, the Adanis-run Mundra Port, and the subsequent reports of the port in Gujarat banning all shipments from Iran.
“She said adequate publicity should be given for destruction of narcotics,” the official statement quoted the finance minister as saying.
“Sitharaman also asked the officers to speed up disposal of hazardous goods and desired that quasi-judicial process, if any, be carried out in a manner to achieve disposal within three months of import,” the statement added.
Sitharaman travelled to the port, located off the Mumbai harbour to the east, in a ferry from South Mumbai’s Gateway of India and was given an overview of the activities at the port by customs officials and chaired a meeting later.
She undertook a detailed survey of infrastructure at the vessel, cargo and land-side stacking and transport operations, and also noted the revenue, security and facilitation roles performed by the Customs officers.
The minister also performed the ground breaking ceremony (bhoomi pujan) for setting up of a Customs Examination Facility at JNPT’s Centralized Parking Plaza. The facility will obviate the need to move containers to a separate location that are selected for examination on the basis of risk.
The visiting minister was accompanied by revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj and CBIC chairman M Ajith Kumar.