Despite record high prices and heavy duties, glitter of gold still continues to dominate the precious metals’ market and official data proves that the bond remains strong as ever. For, official data shows that between March and July, passengers arriving at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in city have brought in an estimated 15 kg of gold with them.
“The slide in gold import started from July onwards. However, gold has been a key commodity among goods declared by passengers arriving at the airport. On an average, 3 kg of the yellow metal comes in every month. Highest gold import at 5 kg as passenger baggage was recorded in May,” a top official from customs department said.
With increased duty, smuggling activities have also increased. In March to July period customs have registered five cases of smuggling and seized 12 kg of gold. “Even passengers try to sneak in gold in small quantities. In import trade control cases we have registered 19 cases during the period and seized 2.2 kg of gold or jewellery from them,” official added.
Past data shows that in the financial year 2010-11 about 36 kg (36,177.04 grams) of gold bars passed through the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport, which earned the department nearly Rs24.43 lakh by way of duty on the commodity.
Compared to this, in 2011-12, the quantity of gold bars brought in through the airport saw a significant drop. Passengers carried 22 kg (22,412.51 grams) of gold bars through the city airport, lower than the previous year by around 14 kg (13,764.04 gm).
However, it should be noted that higher import duties and stringent norms for imports by Reserve Bank of India has curtailed official gold imports at the city airport to a mere 174kg. But in the process, it has spurred smuggling of the yellow metal. It is estimated that about 100kg of the bullion is being smuggled into Ahmedabad every day to match the unabated demands of the Indian consumers.