Twenty-five tonnes of Quran will be auctioned at International Trans-shipment Container Terminal at Vallarpadom in Kerala’s Kochi after the importer said they are unable to pay the import duty to clear the consignment. The consignment described as “unclaimed and uncleared” imported goods are being auctioned on January 21.
According to the reports, the consignment containing thousands of Qurans had landed at the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) six months ago. The holy books believed to be printed in state-of-the-art presses abroad had been lying unclaimed in the Trans-shipment Container Terminal for the last six months.
The books were imported by an Arabic College in Malappuram, and they have expressed their inability to clear the consignment saying that the import duty be paid for the books is too high.
Abdul Salam IP, principal of Darul Uloom Arabic College, Vazhakkad in Malappuram, said that the college had imported the books from Saudi Arabia for free distribution to economically weak believers. He said that the import duty asked for the consignment is too high and that’s they are not accepting it.
“When we went to accept the consignment, we were asked to pay around Rs 8 lakh as Customs duty for releasing the consignment. We didn’t have that much money and we decided not to accept it. Later the Customs agent informed the unclaimed consignment would be auctioned,” he said.
Salam also informed that he had requested the consignment to be sent back to Saudi Arabia, but he was informed that for that the return freight charges will have to be paid. After that, he gave a letter to the terminal authorities to auction the books saying that the college is unable to pay the duty of Rs 8 lakh. He said that the books were sent free of cost from Saudi Arabia after he informed a contact in the Gulf country that a lot of books in his college neighbourhood were lost in the 2018 Kerala floods.
As the College has refused to take the Qurans, MIV Logistics Pvt Ltd has issued a notice to auction the consignment. The logistics company said that they decided to auction the books after getting a go-ahead from the customs department. The company has been holding the consignment in their warehouse for the last several months after it landed in India.
Officials of MIV Logistics said that the consignment doesn’t come under any relaxation category and the importer needs to pay the duty as it has to come with a bill of entry. He added that all imported goods have to go through computerised Indian Customs EDI system which automatically fixes the duty as per the tariff entry of the good.
A committee of evaluators under the Customs has fixed Rs 1 lakh as the base price for auction of the consignment. The company has received a few enquires about the auction and the e-auction will take place on January 21.