Regarding measures for expeditious disposal of unclaimed / uncleared goods
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise & Customs
159A, North Block,
22nd July, 2010.
All Chief Commissioners of Customs / Customs (Prev).
All Commissioners of Customs (Port).
All Commissioners of Customs (Airport).
All Commissioners of Customs & Central Excise.
Subject: Measures for expeditious disposal of unclaimed / uncleared goods – instructions – regarding
Sir / Madam,
Reference is invited to the Board’s Circulars No.50/2005-Customs dated 1.12.2005, No.52/2005-Customs dated 9.12.2005, No.11/2006-Customs dated 16.2.2006 and No.12/2006-Customs dated 20.2.2006 on expeditious disposal of the backlog of accumulated unclaimed / uncleared cargo under Section 48 of the Customs Act, 1962 and ensuring that no delays in disposal of such cargo takes place in future. The Board has also laid down the procedure for disposal of goods through e-auction / tender conducted under instruction F.No.442/12/2004-Cus.IV(Pt.II) dated 6.10.2005 and for disposal of hazardous waste in terms of Circular No.31/2004-Customs dated 26.4.2004 pursuant to the instructions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
2. In this context, attention is also invited to Regulation 6(1)(m) of the ‘Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009’ which stipulates that the Customs Cargo Service Provider (CCSP) shall “dispose off in the manner specified and within a time limit of ninety days, the imported or export goods lying unclaimed, uncleared or abandoned provided that the period of ninety days are extended by the Commissioner of Customs by such further period as may be allowed, on sufficient cause being shown for delay in the disposal”.
3. However, it has come to the notice of the Board that its instructions are not being followed strictly by the Customs field formations and large quantities of goods including hazardous goods are still pending disposal at various customs stations. In this regard, whereas primary responsibility of disposal of unclaimed / uncleared goods rests with custodian appointed under the provisions of Section 45 of the Customs Act, 1962 read with Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009, substantial revenue gets blocked if disposal does not take place in time. Also, such uncleared / unclaimed goods pose a serious safety and security threat, at times and may lead to untoward incidents such as the recent incident of leakage of Chlorine gas at Mumbai port.
4. The Board has taken a serious note of this situation and directs that each Customs formation will constitute a ‘Task Force’ for a one-time comprehensive review of the list of all consignments indicated as uncleared / unclaimed by the respective custodians and match the same with the Customs records. This should be followed by regular periodic meetings with the custodians to update the status of pending consignments. Further, in cases where consignments are indicated as being ‘detained’ by Customs, all pending actions such as investigation, adjudication and related court proceedings should be taken up for completion without delay. Needless to state, it will be the responsibility of the Commissioners to ensure the expeditious disposal of unclaimed / uncleared cargo on regular basis. It is expected that with renewed emphasis on this important item of work appreciable progress will be made.
5. The progress made in disposal along with age-wise break up of pending unclaimed / uncleared cargo that is ripe for disposal as on 31.12.2010 may be sent to the Board by 10.1.2011.
( R. P. Singh )
Internal circulation as usual.