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Technical glitches at Tiruchi airport affects exports, tonnes of vegetables and fruits worth several crores of rupees perish

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 one.

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 said.


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