BENGALURU: The slump in air passenger traffic by more than 90 percent at the Kempegowda International Airport has ensured that the smuggling of imported goods has taken a big hit. Statistics furnished by the Customs department for the first four months of this financial year reveals that only two smuggling cases, both involving gold, were reported from March to July. The jewellery being smuggled was valued at Rs 13.46 lakh.
Smuggling of gold in different forms topped the list. A senior official said that with passenger traffic crashing to rock bottom, it was inevitable. “Smuggling of narcotic products and gold via one’s person, mainly the rectum, was a daily occurrence earlier. We had a minimum of two cases a day daily and it was such a routine affair. It has come to a standstill now due to poor passenger inflow,” he explained.
Asked if the few domestic and special international flights reported any such malpractices, the official added, “Most international traffic now comprises families who are simply relieved to get back to India.”
Regular international and domestic flights were stopped from March 25 with partial resumption taking place two months later.
The occupancy report released this year by the Airports Authority of India for the first quarter of this financial year said that the passenger traffic had dipped by 94.6% at Bengaluru airport compared to its figures in the same period last quarter. KIA had 4,54,704 flyers versus 84,11,268 flyers in April to June last year.