Exporters at the Tiruchi International Airport incurred heavy losses of
several crores of rupees by way of loss of exports due to technical glitches
and consequent failure of electronic data interchange (EDI) which became
operational two days ago in line with operationalisation of GST in the country.
The various agencies involved in the exercise have been blaming each other
even as the trade continued to take the hit. The customs officials failed to
undertake trial run of the EDI before launching it causing great inconvenience
to them. A total of 45 tonnes of consignment has not been lifted since July
The exporters felt manual process should have been in place simultaneously
for a few days till the EDI operated smoothly. Despite repeated appeals made by
the airport authorities to persist with manual entry of consignments till EDI
consolidated, the customs officials remained obstinate. They stuck to their stand
and said no way they will return to the manual process.
The exporters have been demanding the EDI facility for many years. Though
the airport authorities had established the required infrastructure for setting
up the facility at the cargo terminal a year ago, the customs department issued
the notification for the commissioning of EDI only last month.
Without any preparatory exercise the customs rushed through a trade notice
stating that the EDI would become operational from July 1.
The exporters sources said, they could not configure the new EDI with any
printer as a result of which they could not get details of exports, their
consignment, volume of cargo and other required details. The customs officials
neither permitted business without printers nor were ready to go manual,
leaving tonnes of perishables mostly vegetables and fruit exports to go waste.
A loss of 45 tonnes of vegetables and fruits valued several crores of
rupees was too heavy for the exporters. Apart from the loss to exporters,
customs also lost revenue while the cargo department lost Rs 50,000 a day as
handling charges. The airlines that
could have lifted the cargo suffered a freight loss of Rs 25 lakh the sources