PUNJAB:Due to a number of markets of disrepute near the city railway station, the railways have become a big source of illegal smuggling, which is reflected through large seizures of gold and other items by the excise and taxation department on regular basis.
As per the department data, a fine of Rs 67.26 lakh was collected for tax evasion through railway transportation in last one year. Illegal goods and gold worth crores of rupees was smuggled through this mode.
On Wednesday, the excise department had seized gold worth Rs 24 lakh from a passenger and fined him ₹6.38 lakh after he failed to produce proper documents.
In another recovery in July, the department recovered pesticides worth Rs 70 lakh and slapped a fine of Rs 42 lakh on a private firm for illegally transporting it in the city.
Similarly, on August 3, the excise department had seized electronic goods worth Rs 10 lakh. On February 2, electronic goods, including, LEDs worth Rs 3 lakh and on February 3, footwears worth Rs 3 lakh from city railway station were seized.
“The railway is emerging as a major conduit for transporting illegal goods into the city, which is a major concern for the excise department and the police. The smuggling is going on almost unabated with the help of train attendants, government railway police (GRP) and on-duty ticket collectors and guards,” an excise and taxation department official, on request of anonymity, said.
Excise and taxation officer Pawan Kumar said people use some points near city railway station, including, Damoria Bridge, Guru Nanak Pura railway lines, Kazi Mandi area and Rama Mandi bridge near cantonment railway station to smuggle goods. Sometimes, people throw out the goods before the train reaches the railway station, he said.
Excise assistant commissioner Pawanjit Singh said, “The recovery of illegal goods from trains is on rise since some years. We have fined people of Rs 67.26 lakh after seizing goods worth crores of rupees in one year.”
He said a special drive ahead of Diwali will also be organised to check the smuggling. Railways authorities have also been asked to remain on toes to stop the transportation of illegal goods.
Jalandhar station superintendent Rakesh Behal said the government railway police is assigned the job to stop the smuggling of the goods.
Deputy superintendent of police (railway) Rajinder Kumar said the GRP is conducting routine as well as surprise checking to prevent smuggling of goods by trains.