Foreign vessels coming to Lakshadweep under scanner

Aim is to analyse entry of vessels without CBIC permission
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) under the Ministry of Finance has asked the Customs Kochi Preventive Division to thoroughly look into the arrival of all foreign vessels at the Lakshadweep islands in the last couple of years. The move comes close on the heels of the detention of a Switzerland-registered foreign yacht, which was found to have called at Bangaram, Kalpeni, Agatti, Kadamat, Amini and Kavaratti islands of Lakshadweep which have no port notified by the Customs as per Section 29 of the Customs Act. The objective is to analyse the entry of foreign vessels against the actual permission granted by the Union government since such entry without prior permission of the CBIC amounts to serious violation of law. “If any vessel was found to have been allowed without permission then we will ascertain under what circumstances the Lakshadweep administration allowed it. Such violations will be followed-up, investigated and showcause notices will be issued by the Customs in coordination with other Central agencies. It has to be examined how these foreign operators managed entry to Lakshadweep where even the entry of India citizens is restricted,” Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar. The Lakshadweep administration has only recently approached the Customs with a request to notify a couple of ports in Kavaratti and Minicoy and the airport at Agatti as Customs-notified entry points. The process to verify whether these facilities have minimum infrastructure is under way.

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