|Initially the commissionerate of customs, Patna was created in March 1972 vide Govt. of India’s notification No. 95 dated 04.3.1972 with the sole purpose of preventing smugglingactivities on the entire Indo- Nepal Border and to monitor the trade activities between India & Nepal and transit of goods from and to Nepal in terms of Indo- Nepal treaty of trade and transit.
Customs (Prev.) Commissionerate at Lucknow, came into existence with effect from 02.06.1994, following bifurcation of the erstwhile Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate, Indo-Nepal Border with HQ at Patna. The jurisdiction of this Commissionerate extends over the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and covers the international border of about 850 kms. with Nepal and China through intractable hill areas and dense forests .
The twin objectives of the Commissionerate are Anti smuggling work and the facilitation of the trade with Nepal and China. Anti smuggling work mainly consists of the prevention of, among other things, illicit export of goods to Nepal; illegal import of goods of third country origin from Nepal; deflection of the goods being imported / exported by Nepal under the CTD facility through Indian territory into Indian market; drug trafficking and smuggling of FICN etc.
Most of the trade with Nepal is carried out through the mutually agreed and approved routes, manned by Customs on both sides. Besides this, the local people residing on either side of the border have been undertaking movement of goods in small quantities through several traditional passages.
The Commissionerate also has two international Airports at Lucknow and Varanasi. From Lucknow Indian Airlines flights to Sharjah, Jeddah & Dubai (UAE) and from Varanasi Indian Airlines flights to Kathmandu (Nepal), respectively, are operating. Seasonal flights for HAJ pilgrimage are also operational from both the Airports. At present from Varanasi Airport import of only specified raw materials is allowed vide Notification No. 61/94-Cus.(NT), dt. 21-11-94 (as amended) used in making carpets and garments for export. However, no import has so far taken place.
The Air Cargo facility at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow is in operation with effect from 27.04.2000. There is a separate Cargo office at the airport having separate section for Import and Export. Major Item of export from this Airport is embroidered fabrics.
The regulation of the trade with Nepal is undertaken in accordance with ; (i) the Treaty of Trade; (ii) the Treaty of Transit and (iii) the Agreement of Cooperation to Control the Unauthorized Trade. In terms of the Treaty of Trade, the export and import of goods to and from Nepal can take place through the Eleven (11) mutually agreed routes on the Indo Nepal border which lie in the jurisdiction of this Commissionerate. These routes and their corresponding points across the border in Nepal have been specified vide the Notification No. 63/94-Cus. (NT), Dt. 21-11-94 (as amended). Except prohibited goods in terms of Section 11 of the Customs Act, 1962, the Foreign Trade Policy or the Treaty itself, the trade between India and Nepal is generally free from licensing restrictions / levy of Customs duties and only countervailing duty equivalent to Central Excise duty is charged(Basic Customs Duty being exempted in terms of Notification No.40/2002-Cus dt.12.04.2002). Exports to Nepal from the Land Customs Stations situated at the mutually agreed and approved routes can also be effected under the DEEC,DEPB & duty drawback scheme. Recently two LCS namely Murtiha & Thoothibari have been mutually agreed upon for trade between India & Nepal. But the date from which these two will be operational is yet to be notified.
Under the Treaty of Trade, a number of benefits are available to Nepal such as, refund/rebate of the excise duty paid in India on the goods exported to Nepal. Moreover, Nepalese goods are eligible to exemption from the Basic and Special Additional duties of Customs under Notification No. 40/2002-Cus., dt. 12.04.2002, on the production of a Certificate of Origin evidencing that the goods are of Nepalese origin and only Additional Duty of Customs (CVD) is chargeable thereon. However, special CVD @ 4%, introduced in the Budget 2006-07, is chargeable on all the imports except those which are exempted, from payment of Spl. CVD ,by any Notification.
The Treaty of Trade and of Transit with Nepal has been renewed up to October,2016. In the fresh Treaty of trade the following new items have been added in the list of primary products which would be eligible for preferential treatment :
- Herbs, Ayurvedic and herbal medicines, including essential oils and its extracts
- Stone aggregate, boulder, sand and gravel.
Nepalese goods are also exempt from the Additional duty (CVD) of Customs vide Notification No. 85/98-Cus. dt. 5-11-98 (as amended), on a parity with the goods manufactured by the Indian Small Scale Industries. Import of third country origin goods from Nepal is prohibited vide Notification No. 9/96-Cus.(NT),dt. 22-1-1996, barring a few exceptions specified therein.
ORGANIZATIONAL SET UP
The bi-lateral Treaty of Transit with India governs transit facility for Nepalese Trade with other countries. Pursuant to this, Nepalese goods can be exported and imported through the Sea port of Kolkata and, after passing the Indian territory, can be moved through the 7 mutually agreed routes ( Land Customs Stations ) on the border ,viz. Sonauli, Barhni, Nepal Ganj Road, Gauriphanta, Tikonia, Jarwa and Banbasa, notified under Notification No. 63/94-Cus. (NT), dt. 21-11-94. In both the cases, the goods have to be accompanied by a Customs Transit Declaration (CTD) and transported along the inland routes specified by the Government of India in this regard.
For the trade with China, Gunji in the District of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand has been specified under the Notification No. 63/94-Cus. (NT), dt. 21-11-94.
The Commissionerate having jurisdiction over state of U.P. & Utrakhand with Headquarters at Lucknow functions under the administrative control of Commissioner of Customs, assisted by 03 Addl./Joint Commissioners. In the grade of Dy./Asstt Commissioners, 04 Dy./Asstt Commissioners are posted as against the sanctioned strength of 10. The preventive Commissionerate draws its Gr. B, C and D staff from Central Excise Commissionerates of Allahabad, Lucknow and Kanpur.
The Commissionerate has been divided into 5 Customs Divisions headed by the Dy./Asstt. Commissioners and have their Hdqrs. at Lucknow, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Nautanwa and Varanasi. These Divisions are further divided into Circles and exercise control over the Land Customs Stations (LCS’s) falling in their area as well as the Mobile Preventive Parties (M.P.Ps) deployed in the Divisions. There are no ACs/DCs at Nautanwa/Lucknow divisions, only one AC is working against sanctioned strength of two AC’s at Lucknow Airport.