THOOTHUKUDI: The mobile gamma ray scanner at the Thoothukudi Port has failed to curb smuggling of red sanders, among others.
The `11-crore scanner was set up in April 2014 and when it was inaugurated, Customs officials claimed that both export and import consignments would be thoroughly scanned and illegal export/import items will be seized.
But, to date, the scanner has not made an impact as smuggling of red sanders continue unabated via the port and the recent smuggling of seven tonnes worth of red sander logs worth about `2.25 crore via Thoothukudi Port on October 14 passed of as cotton bale to Jebel Ali Port in Saudi Arabia is a case in point.
The container was not scanned before being sent. A month later, the officials got a tip-off and they contacted the Kandla Port, but its officials informed that the ship carrying the red sanders had left for Jebel Ali Port. Immediately, the Customs officials contacted the Jebel Ali Port and the officials there informed that the ship had reached the port, but the container was not dispatched yet. Then, the Customs officials requested the officials at the port to send the container back and it reached Thoothukudi Port on Tuesday night. Following that, the red sander logs was seized.
As thousands of containers are being shipped daily it is difficult to scan each and every one of the containers.