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Losses pile on Trichy exporters over snag in customs EDI

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Exporters at the international airport here continued to incur heavy losses due to technical glitches and consequent failure of electronic data interchange (EDI) which became operational two days ago. They said that the regulatory agency and facilitating agencies have been blaming each other even as their trade continued to take a 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 consignments were not being lifted for the last two days.
The exporters who requested anonymity pointed out that a manual process should have been in place simultaneously for a few days till the EDI operated smoothly. However, despite repeated appeals made by the airport authorities to go for manual entry of consignments temporarily, the customs officials, who were the regulatory authority, remained obstinate. They stuck to their stand that they would not turn back, the exporters lamented.

The exporters have been demanding the facility for many years. Though the airport authorities had established the required infrastructure at the cargo terminal a year ago, the customs department issued the notification for the commissioning of EDI only in June. However, without any preparatory works or trial run, they issued a notice stating that the EDI would become operational from July 1, the exporters alleged.
According to exporters, they could not configure the new EDI with any printer as a result of which they could not get details of exporters, their consignment, volume of cargo and other required details. All the entries could be stored properly with the new facility. The customs officials neither came forward to transact business without print nor were ready to go manual, leaving tonnes of perishables to go waste, they said.
A loss of 45 tonne was heavy for the exporters. Apart from the loss to exporters, customs also lost service tax while the cargo department is losing Rs 50,000 a day as handling charges. In the case of service providers - the airlines — would incur a loss of Rs 25 lakh, sources said.
When contacted, airport director K Gunasekaran, said, "The printer could not be configured properly with the EDI. The issue would be sorted out on Monday".


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