Monday, March 12, 2018

Airport gets karat meter for on-the-spot gold valuation


PUNE: With gold catches becoming a common affair at the Pune airport, the customs authorities here have set up a new karat meter at the facility to speed up the valuation process of the seized yellow metal.

Apart from the one karat meter that has been installed, orders for two new luggage scanning machines and one door-frame metal detector have also been placed. Customs officials are likely to get possession of the modern equipment within a month.

“Earlier, a lot of time was spent on just getting the seized gold valuated. The government valuer had to come down with the equipment and then assess the gold. It was a time-consuming affair. Moreover, the delay in gold valuation used to delay the file work as well. We just wanted to smoothen the process and speed things up at our end. We now have a karat meter at the airport. It will help us avoid wastage of time. The government valuer will just need to come here and assess the value of the seized precious metal. The valuer will not need to bring along his equipment,” said an official.

Talking about the new scanners and the metal detector, the airport officials said the modern machines will improve the quality of checks.

“The machines that we currently have are old. With smugglers finding new ways to bring in gold, we too need to be equipped with modern detecting mechanisms. The new scanners will easily be able to differentiate between heavy and light metals. In addition, under these modern machines, a bag can be seen from all possible angles. In the scanners that we are using right now, if a piece of luggage is placed vertically, we only get vertical images. The new equipment will be able to give us very clear images of objects and this will help us in swift identification followed by quick action.

With the images being very clear, it will be easier to identify gold even if it is coated with rhodium, which is a common modus operandi among smugglers. Our headquarters in Delhi has approved equipment and we should get them installed in the facility but the month-end,” another official said.

The airport officials said some new plans of detection are already in place, which included vigilance in the departure area as well. Moreover, the airlines have been asked to provide the customs department with the list of passengers who are taking domestic flights to Pune but are subsequently taking flights to select international destinations, particularly in the Middle East.

“We have been following up on the detected cases and investigating further in a bid to know more about the smuggling rackets and the masterminds involved. We should be coming up with some breakthroughs soon,” the official added.


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