Millennium Post

Sadhan Pande urges Customs to be alert and vigilant

State Consumer Affairs minister Sadhan Pande on Thursday urged the Customs to be more vigilant to check the circulation of various
counterfeit consumer goods in Bengal.

He was talking at a seminar organised by the FICCI Cascade on 'Combating Counterfeiting & Smuggling'. Pande also blamed various companies for not taking the issues of counterfeiting seriously. Talking on the issues, Pande also raised concerns over the growing trends of counterfeit goods entering the markets throughout the state.

"Various companies must come forward and take appropriate steps to stop counterfeiting. If such issues are cropping up, the company must contact our department," Pande said.
Referring to a seizure of counterfeit tea by his department, the minister said that a company was producing and branding tea using the name of a big brand and selling them at BBD Bagh area where the racket was busted. The matter was raised with the company and the whole incident of seizure of duplicate tea was narrated to them but no steps were taken by the company to curb the incident. Urging various companies to be on their toes, the minister said that a mechanism has to be in place to stop the trade of counterfeiting products.

Siddharth Wanchoo, ITC Ltd's Executive VP (Marketing) said that smuggling of cigarettes into India has been posing a serious challenge. The cigarettes manufactured outside the country are being smuggled into the country. They mostly come from Dubai, Myanmar and South-East Asian countries.

This has also cut down the revenue collection of the government. According to a report, the loss of revenue in 2014 was at the tune of around Rs 39,000 crore. Among other sectors, the maximum revenue loss to the exchequer was attributed to tobacco products, estimating a revenue loss of Rs 9,139 crore, followed by mobile phones at Rs 6,705 crore and alcoholic beverages at Rs 6,309 crore due to counterfeiting.

Gaurav Vutts, regional legal manager of Hindustan Unilever Ltd also pointed out some hurdles for the companies in taking action against the manufacturers of the counterfeit products. "Various companies are producing counterfeit products and giving a tag of a branded company on it before circulating them in the markets.

"We are taking actions against the retailers and distributors. But we are not being able to catch hold of the manufacturers of counterfeited products because majority of these manufacturers are not within India. We have to identify the manufacturer of counterfeit products in order to curb the menace," Vutts said.

M K Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Port) Kolkata said that companies must register themselves with the Customs and share information so that they can check the goods in the better way when the cargos were unloaded. He also said they were introducing Radio Frequency Identification
Device (RFID) in the trucks that are used for carrying the containers to countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
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