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Turmeric missing from Colombo Port recovered from a city warehouse amidst skyrocking of its prices in the local market

The Sri Lankan Customs Department has launched a probe where 33,000 kg of turmeric was smuggled out of the Colombo Port unnoticed, which was later found by Police at a warehouse in the Metropolis  on September 18th sri lankan media reports quoting a top customs official

The smuggling from the port comes in the wake of skyrocketing of turmeric prices in the Colombo market where it is sold at rs 4000 a kilo and the island government's decision to ban import of turmeric. India used to be a major supplier of turmeric to Srilanka before the ban came into existence six months ago.

It was not clear as to when the consignment slipped out of the Port

“It was not clear as to when the consignment slipped out of the Port and its country of origin and therefore, towards this end, a committee has been set up to carry out a thorough investigation,” Customs Spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said.

Negligence or even connivance by errant officials have not been ruled out

In addition, the present scanning machines at the Colombo Port are also on the blink but negligence or even connivance by errant officials have not been ruled out, he added.

He further said four new scanning machines that is part of a Rs 40 billion project have been completed but could not be operational owing to external issues.

He said truckers entering the Port had protested over the project claiming that they would be exposed to dangerous radiation and therefore the operation of the new scanners had to be put on hold.

The turmeric consignment was taken into custody by the Police on September 18th with three containers and seven trucks from a warehouse in Bloemendhal.

Police said the turmeric had been illegally imported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, three days ago by a businessman operating in Mattakuliya.

The find on 18 September is the single largest detection of illegally imported turmeric to reach the country since the import of the spice was banned by the Government in March this year as part of a national programme to encourage local farmers to cultivate the crop.

large stocks of turmeric smuggled into the country

The State security agencies have also seized large stocks of turmeric that had been smuggled into the country by boat from neighbouring India. The price of turmeric has increased by several-fold since the ban was imposed and the spice is also scarce in the open market.

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