This Christmas, if you plan to send some gift by courier to your relatives in India or abroad, be prepared to shell out more by way of courier charges.
Sending off gifts to your near and dear ones during any festive season could get more expensive. This is thanks to the implementation of paying off arrears of the Sixth Pay Commission to Custom officials.
An application by Express Industry Council of India (EICI), a body that handles courier services at Mumbai international airport, filed with the Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), a demand for revision of charges has been made. Though EICI is a non-profit body, there are certain charges that it collects from customers and pays them to the government or agency which renders its services to them.
The charges payable to the customs department have risen by about 500% – earlier the charges were Rs12 lakh, which have now been increased to Rs66 lakh per month – , an escalation of about 500%.
EICI has, in its proposal letter, mentioned: “Demands for arrears on account of retrospective increase in salaries of customs officers on account of the Sixth Pay Commission have been received by EICI”. The letter says that the monthly customs charges earlier were Rs12 lakh, which have now increased to Rs66 lakh per month...
EICI has warned that if the decision is not taken on a priority basis, it will have a bad effect on the operation of courier services at the airport.
Sources at the airport said that the bills for the customs department also depend on the number of officials deployed for the service and the number of shipments which arrive or leave the airport over any given period.
AERA has asked all stakeholders concerned to post their comments on the issue, the deadline for which has been set for December 7.
Mumbai airport is one of the major hubs in the country through which the air cargos are sent to foreign countries. Similarly, a lot of cargo also arrives at the city airport. According to an estimate, Mumbai airport has handled about 6.56 lakh tonnes of cargo during 2011-12. The increase in the tariff will also have an effect on prices of commodities, as the increase in charges will eventually come down to the final consumer,” said an airport official.